We’ve all seen the social media crisis and cringed, whether it be the Urban Outfitters boycott or the KISSmetrics undeletable cookie. These crises are increasing, according to Jeremiah Owyang’s report for Altimeter. And many of them are reaching mainstream media. The implication: you could be next.

What’s frustrating about this is how preventable it is. Says Owyang, “Currently, 66% of all companies do not have a process [using customer] feedback to fix root problems, [improve] products and services.”

preventability of social media crises

But Jeremiah’s report suggests that the best way to avoid these issues is good social media practices and training. While I agree that these are important, I don’t think this isn’t about being good at social media – I think this is about being good at making customers happy.

Jeremiah’s data actually backs this up. He finds that the #1 cause of social media crises was “exposure of poor experience”.

causes of social media crises

Don’t solve this by training staff to deal with people when they’re already angry. Solve this by building a great experience for your customers.

Build a culture around great support. Treat support as a money-maker, not loss prevention. Create a positive environment for your support employees. Ask your customers for feedback when they’re most likely to have it. Think about your customers when making major changes. Don’t separate the folks who talk to customers from the folks who build your productDon’t force your customers to help each other because you’re not there. Answer customers quickly.

The answers are all there (and we’re continuing to expand upon them as we cover our Customer Service Scaling Timeline) but it’s up to us to make this change happen. Start making changes!

Read Jeremiah’s report here.

Disclaimer: I consider Jeremiah a friend, mentor, and super-smart gent. I think his report is fantastic – I just disagree about what to tackle first.

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