Follow These Simple Steps and Don’t Do What Amy’s Baking Company Did
Should your business endure an unfortunate public incident you may face complex issues. You may lose customers. You may sacrifice brand reputation. You could lose your company or even get sued. Perhaps this is obvious; your website and your presence on social media help share your voice and define your company.
A bakery is Scottsdale, Arizona showed us exactly what NOT to do with social media and reality television last year. You can read about it in the Kansas City Business Journal here. The business owner responded personally to customer criticisms posted on social sites. She hurled insults, calling customers “morons” or “ugly” or worse. She used expletives. Her responses to customers who posted complaints about bakery were so angry that the situation was covered in the Arizona press as early as 2010.
The married business owners went further, sharing angry, abusive behavior globally. They agreed to appear, with Chef Gordon Ramsey, on the reality television series “Kitchen Nightmares”, where they continued the abuse-fest of employees and customers on film. The celebrity Chef finally walked out on them. The episode aired in May last year.
Customers vented en masse to social sites, sometimes becoming abusive too. Media outlets picked up the story and the business shut down, at least temporarily. This example is so extreme it’s ridiculous. Most businesses treat customers well, rather than abuse them in public.
But what can any company do to maximize communications opportunities with social media? How do you turn customer complaints positive, and grow with community support online?
We’re privileged to work with brilliant business owners all over the world. Our social media is another opportunity to authentically share our company and, most importantly, really listen to our audience. Here are the communication guidelines we follow:
GUIDELINES: HOW WE COMMUNICATE
- We listen.
- We tell the truth.
- We do what we say.
- We serve with facts and data, quantifying our services.
- We communicate who we are; marketing experts and service professionals, excited to serve and happy to help.
- We monitor social sites for company mentions and respond appropriately.
- Key customer issues are escalated to our leadership team.
- Brand training defines our approach in public relations, serving customers and sharing our message consistently.