So I’ve moved again..sixth time in six years (don’t ask). Two weeks after the move, I am still living with unfinished hardwood floors, wrong door, and a brand spanking new refrigerator with a non-functioning in-door water dispenser. So I’ve complained, threatened and even tried to cajole the responsible parties into action, many of which are national brands, but haven’t made much progress.
I’m often asked by business owners, marketers, product managers whether they should use social media and have heard many social media “experts” extoll the virtues of social networking sites. Here’s the brutal truth for anyone who’s still grappling with the same question: When your product doesn’t work and your customer support sucks, no amount of “tweeting” is going to save your business. Period.
Zappos (now acquired by Amazon) is the poster child for using social media for business and their brilliant use of Twitteris the stuff of legends. However, what many people conveniently overlook is that Zappos is a company with stellar customer service that happens to tweet.
If your products don’t work, customer support is unresponsive, and your returns policy is lousy, who cares how fancy your Facebook page is?! AT&T is a great example of a company who uses Twitter to spew uni-directional messages instead of engaging unhappy customers because there are so many of them. In such case, I am baffled as to why bother having a social media presence at all? All you’re doing is giving your unhappy customer base another avenue to vent but not really solving their problems.
Yes, social media is powerful but it’s not going to solve fundamental business problems and precious business resources are better spent on fixing those problems than tweeting at your audience. Your customers deserve better.