As I delve further into the world of Social Media, I am dumbfounded as to the quality; and in many cases, the lack of of customer interaction by local and national businesses and organizations. I realize that I have touched on this topic in a previous posts. Recent events have compelled me to expand on my original thoughts.

Corporate America has jumped on the social media bandwagon in order to build its client base and drive up sales.  Nothing wrong with that; so far so good.  However, we all know that the larger your client base the more likely you will receive complaints along with the compliments. No business is perfect. There is always going to be something the consumer is going to complain about; whether it be pricing, product quality, etc.  It is the nature of doing business.

Engaging and interacting with your client base in a positive and forthright manner is one the tried and true ways to build both your online and offline brand reputations. Copying and pasting the same “canned” corporate approved response to each and every complaint and comment posted to social media platforms does not qualify as sincere customer engagement. It only serves to add credence to the original complaints due to its lack of sincerity and originality.

I am of the old school where personal interaction always takes precedence when dealing with both established and potential clients.  Many of those same tried and true techniques are easily transferable to the social media environment.  It has become apparent that many administrators of these various platforms are not skilled in these time honored customer engagement skills.  We can blame it on corporate downsizing resulting in the loss of veteran employees or simply that these “newbies” in the field just are not being mentored properly in these skills.

When something goes awry whether it be with a product or messaging, acknowledge the mistake and share the corrective actions that you plan on taking.  Many times, we do not learn of the mistake until someone points it out; usually in a very public setting.  The tendency is to immediately go on the defensive. Do your best to avoid the urge. Becoming defensive and redistributing the blame is as bad as responding with a canned corporate response.

Businesses and organizations that continue on this track will eventually end up with no one to engage with.