We’ve all heard the myth that ostriches bury their heads in the sand, particularly when they’re frightened. It’s not true (hence a myth) – they’re probably turning some eggs they’ve laid. We used to have a dog – a bulldog! – that would sort of do the same thing when he was scared or had done something bad. He would turn his head away from you – we were 100% sure he believed he was invisible: since he can’t see you, you can’t see him.
Many brands seem to be following a similar strategy when it comes to social media and customer complaints. A few years ago, Bain Consulting conducted a study that discovered that while 80% of companies believe they deliver ‘superior’ customer experiences to their customers, just 8% of customers agree. Who is kidding themselves here?
It’s not an occasional problem. Another study – this one by Social Media Marketing University – showed that 58.2% of brands receive customer complaints via social media ‘occasionally.’ 10.9%receive them ‘somewhat often’ while 4.9% receive them ‘very often.’ So what do they do, given that surveys reported in news media found that customers expect a response to a complaint posted on a brand’s social media account within one hour? They pretend they’re invisible. Is that a bad thing? You tell me:
- 58.2% of brands receive customer complaints via social media ‘occasionally.’ 10.9 percent receive them ‘somewhat often’ while 4.9% receive them ‘very often.’
- 26.1% of brands reputations have been tarnished as a result of negative social media posts; 15.2% lost customers and 11.4% lost revenue.
And here is the kicker:
- 23.4% of brands not only do not have a strategy in place to manage negative social commentary, but do not have plans to develop one. 24.5% of brands are in the process of developing a strategy and 7.6% have strategies in place that are currently proving to be ineffective.
This isn’t the only survey that found businesses lacking. Another one which comes from Sprinklr shows that 20% of companies rarely, if ever, respond to customer complaints made via social. The “ostrich strategy” is about the worst choice a business can make. Putting your head in the sand doesn’t make the issues go away – it just makes it harder for you to hear them as they get louder and louder. That’s my take. Yours?