Do complaints on Social Media Damage Your Reputation?

When I speak to businesses who are considering entering the Social Media arena, they are often concerned that customers will use it for complaints which other existing customers and potentials will then see. Far from this being a negative, I see this as a great opportunity for companies to advertise how good they are, when problems occur.

I’ve been completely blown away by the service I received from Build-A-Bear workshop this week. Interestingly, it has nothing to do with the purchasing of their products, or even the quality of them, but in how they handled a problem that I encountered.

My daughter has been saving up for some accessories for her B-A-B Hello Kitty, so on Sunday we made the 1.5 hour round trip to our nearest store. We had a lovely time browsing, the staff were helpful and my daughter managed to stay within her budget, so all in all, a very positive experience. Did I tell anyone about it? No.

That evening, we realised the zip on her new poodle sleeping bag was faulty, so the next morning I called the store. They asked how far away we were and then suggested that their head office may be able to authorise the exchange by post. So I called them, and they also suggested the postal option. I was really hoping they wouldn’t ask me to return the item first, as my daughter wouldn’t have been happy, and they didn’t. They offered to UPS a replacement to me and to send a free returns note for “when we have a chance to post it back to them.”

Our replacement arrived the very next day. My daughter had no interruption in playing with her new purchase and I didn’t have to drive over there to exchange it, so all in all, two very happy customers! Did I tell anyone about it? Oh yes!

Build-A-Bear Workshop is on Facebook, so I posted an update telling everyone about my problem, but thanking them for their great customer service. It also tied in with a question that Michael Losier (Law of Attraction), had posed, so I also mentioned it there. Do you really think that will put anyone off buying from them? I don’t think so. In fact, B-A-B took the time to thank me for my comment and for being a fan, so I’m pretty sure they get my point. Every company will make mistakes. Either the product will be faulty, the service not up to their usual standard or maybe a part will be missing. If a company tells you that they never have complaints, don’t believe them.

I’m so much more impressed with Build-A-Bear after being on the receiving end of their great after sales service, than if the product had been OK. They’ve turned what could have been a negative into a huge positive, and what’s more, by the power of Social Media, it’s been amplified. On Facebook Michael Losier has nearly 10k fans and Build-A-Bear have over 1m fans. That’s a lot of people who could read about my experience and feel comfortable that should they have a problem, Build-A-Bear will respond similarly to them.

So you see, as long as your company handles complaints well, you really have nothing to fear from Social Media, but so much to gain. If you’d like to know how Social Media Marketing can help your own business, let’s have a chat…

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