In the age of the digital revolution, online presence is everything to business. Unfortunately, for many businesses, getting online ends the process. Once you set up that Twitter feed, or Facebook page, the work stops. You may check back, watch your followers grow and leave interesting updates but that covers the interaction with social media. However, a lack of follow-through when a customer raises a question or issue can quickly undo all the goodwill you created by plugging your brand into the internet.
The Orbitz Omission
Last week, my grandfather suddenly started declining. I took a rush flight to South Carolina to be with him and my family. Two days later, he passed away. My plans to go to a conference the upcoming weekend quickly disappeared. My boyfriend took care to cancel all our plans. The conference refunded our tickets. Southwest put our miles towards another flight. But the hotel… the hotel became a problem. We booked our room through Orbitz. Orbitz refused to give us any kind of break on the hotel, even with proof of a family death. So my boyfriend relieved his outrage on Twitter. With a flurry of negative tweets suddenly on their radar, Orbitz responded to us, wanting to make amends. However, despite a quick Twitter cover-up, they never did anything to fix the situation.
Just Not Enough
Obviously, a large company like Orbitz has a twitter presence, but just responding to a few angry tweets, wasn’t enough. The problem required more effort. While the apologetic tweets were thoughtful, they did nothing to solve the problem, which was having to pay for a trip I could not make, on top of expensive last-minute flights. Sentiment on social media in the end, means very little.
Negativity Can Only Be Overcome with Action
Social Media can be powerfully negative to your brand without you monitoring and reacting to each issue independently. If Orbitz had changed its tune and found a way to work with us, that small action could solve multiple problems. At this point, neither of us will use Orbitz again. And we, both significant influencers among our peers and colleagues, will advise others not to use their services either. We’ve both already written reviews of our service. These negative words are powerful and can impact a brand directly. A small action would overcome the flood of bad press this business received in just one day.
This is a lesson that even small businesses can learn from. Social media is a great way of creating dialogue. But just like real life, not all dialogue is happy chitchat, issues come up and then need to be dealt with. So when it happens, and it will happen, be prepared. Remember, swiftly and purposefully taking action against a problem often creates more goodwill among your followers.Image by