Customer Relations 101

December 29, 2009

The customer is always right–Especially when they know how to use facebook!

Recently a West coast supermarket chain, Safeway, posted a special facebook promotion exclusively for its fan page members. For a limited time, if you became a “fan” of the supermarket on facebook, you could be eligible for a free box of clementine oranges. What a deal right? Not really. Safeway created an unnecessary and negative buzz around their brand, due to a lack of communication and customer service.

Now I’m not one to complain about free swag, but Safeway provides a perfect example of what not to do when using social media as a promotional tool. The promotional post was vague and did not clearly state how the customer should register their coupon to receive the free oranges. After several customers posted some not-so-nice comments on the Safeway wall, the organization finally uploaded vague instructions with a broken link to a downloadable coupon. The promotion’s rules and regulations kept changing and frustrated customers continued to leave nasty comments. It seemed as though the supermarket chain planned the promotion as they went.

Much later that day, Safeway posted the customer services’ phone number, forcing confused customers to take the initiative. However, the customer service representatives and the store employees had no idea about the promotion. In what was starting to look like a scam, the promotion finally closed at the end of the day.

Organizations must use social media wisely and honestly. Facebook has proven to be a great way to increase awareness and to promote your brand–with a plan of course. Rather than a “plan as we go” attitude like Safeway, businesses and organizations must create thoughtful plans, free of mishaps and blunders. Here are some tips when using social media as a promotional tool for your brand.

1. Create a plan and stick to it. Prepare a “plan B” and responses to all possible inquiries or questions. A plan is not only thorough, it is a useful way to measure your promotions success.
2. Communicate the plan to all associates and ensure they comprehend the promotion.
3. Communicate the plan to customers via a social media platform. Enthusiastically foster conversation and discussion.
4. Monitor conversations and standby to answer all questions or concerns.
5. Take notes on strengths and weaknesses for the next promotional campaign!

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One Response to “Customer Relations 101”

  1. bizrisk Says:

    This is a great example of lack of planning that resulted in frustrated customers. Hopefully, this company learned from their mistakes!


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