But let’s take a international hotel chain that “monitors” their brand on twitter, I’ve been tracking their responses to twitter comments about their brand, as well as checking out who they are replying to, and the complaint or comment i.e. the account that it’s originating from, for the last month.
This hotel chain is being held up as a standard to learn from by social media gurus, as a company that is excelling in using social media (twitter specifically) to solve and resolve customer service issues.
The hotel chain is not (it appears) looking into what the actual comment or complaint is about, and is answering with a standard, “send us a DM (I’m assuming they then follow the person making the comment) and let us know how we can help.”
I think this is somewhat hilarious because many of the “comments” are totally frivolous, i.e. XX Hotel has the weirdest music in it’s lobby” or “Just saw the latest commercial for XX hotel, I’d never stay there again.”
It appears that perhaps comments are being responded to on the basis of a negative tone, not the actual context of the comment.
For people with actual real complaints, they are getting the exact same response with no further (public) follow up, and it appears that many of the complaints go unresolved as well, because the miffed person continues sometimes days later, to continue talking about it.
While it appears at first glance that XX hotel chain is actually using twitter to solve and facilitate fixing customer service issues, one wonders if the end result is really and truly making future/past guests really satisfied with the customer service level that appears superficially to be working.
If you are going to respond to a social media complaint: follow up, follow up, follow up, don’t assume that asking someone to contact you and just tell you the issue (if any) is going to make the problem or issue just go away and that’s the end of it.
If they are still talking about the bad experience they had with your front desk person more then a week later, it appears that asking them to tell you their problem on twitter is not resolving the issue or even better, turning that person into a potential return guest.
The takeaway here for smaller lodging is yes, definitely! Monitor your business on twitter! Respond and most importantly FOLLOW up on complaints or issues. Tweeting someone that has had a problem or issue is one step, taking it further is key.
Smaller lodging can take an opportunity to excel at customer service over a big hotel chain that has a one size fits all response, and an apparent lack of follow up.
Don’t be superficial in your customer service, follow up, both offline and online, and guests, future and repeat will appreciate the personal service.
A terrific related article just came out today from 4 Keys to Turning Negative Commenters Into Brand Advocates on Convince & Convert.
#4 is key in reinforcing Following up.
Keep in mind social media is public, people can track back to who companies are responding to, and similar to what I did, if they just see empty promises in customer service follow-up, they can lose even more faith in the brand.