Customer Care in the Blogosphere – A Real World Example
Well, you can call your customers “idiots”, for giving you feedback on your (false) products or websites. Or you can regard criticism as relevant feedback on your products and services and thank customers for giving hints where you can do better. In times where blogs and twitter are used to update and inform friends, users, customers, … you better be careful with your answers to relevant feedback.
Ryanair just gave us a great example on how things can turn into bad publicity just by the action of one staff member.
He responded to a post when Web developer Jason Roe blogged about a flaw in Ryanair’s online booking system. But it seems that their social media skills may need a little fine-tuning. The comment received from a user identified as Ryanair Staff called Jason an “idiot and liar!” As if that wasn’t not enough, a Ryanair spokesman later confirmed the commentator was employed by the carrier, and stated: “It is Ryanair policy not to waste time and energy corresponding with idiot bloggers and Ryanair can confirm that it won’t be happening again. Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.”
Maybe Ryanair should learn to take criticism more constructively and respond with a little more respect to customers. Cost cutting is fine to keep flight fares low, but it will be totally pointless without the customers booking their low-cost flights.
More details can also be found on the website of the Irish Times.
I learned a long time ago after a series of hard lessons, when responding to the written word with written word remove all emotion. Over 90% of communication is non verbal so the written word is apt to be easily misunderstood. This reason alone should prompt respondents to take a deep breath, analyze fully what is being conveyed and to respond cordially, with restraint and briefly.
With reference to the misguided and uninformed responses from Ryanair to legitimate customer complaints/ comments perhaps they should take a leaf out of Richard Branson’s book (he of the wanting to employ a critic of his airline’s culinary fare) and come to terms with the online social phenomena (blogging et al) and realise that, idiots and lunatics notwithstanding, it is here to stay.
Just imagine Jason standing at the counter of Ryanair telling this employee about the flaw he found. Would this person still call him an “idiot and a liar”? I guess not…
It seems to be so easy to respond to a complaint as “anonymous” user on a blog. But one should consider before writing a harsh comment, which effects it might have on customer experience and the brand.
Feedback from customers is what many companies pay a great deal of money to research agencies for before going to market and as a pulse. Instant feedback, provided by social networks, blogs and your own site might make the job harder in some respects re: aggregating the feedback – but it’s terrific stuff and invaluable. If we learn to dedicate the individual customer care this movement represents again we will be riding the Cluetrain properly. It’s back to the individual marketer and customer – and has moved away from mass markets. We know it. We see it. We have to respond to it in order to connect and be relevant to customers and clients.
Barbara Pflughaupt Principal, BP Media Relations, LLC