Press and social media have both been alive this week with the issues facing US Airways who sent an inappropriate image to a customer from their corporate account.
The customer, who was sitting on a delayed plane, was frustrated by the lack of information so decided to contact the company via Twitter. The ultimate result was a media storm in response to which, US Airways posted an apology on Twitter. Following this apology they then ceased using their Twitter account so removed a vital customer service tool. So, not only was their reputation damaged but they were no longer able to respond quickly and efficiently to customer concerns and messages so further damage to the brand was inevitable.
How many companies are more worried about what customers are posting on their Facebook pages or tweeting about them than what is going out from the organisation itself? What is the most damaging – a customer tweet or post that is seen by the company and other followers or an offensive company tweet that is retweeted across the globe?
The question on the lips of board members of companies who use social media in a big way should be do they have the systems in place to ensure they know exactly what is being said to the customer in addition to what is being said by the customer? If the answer to this is no then your reputation is at risk from your own inaction.
If you do have an issue with misuse of social media, be it intentional or not, are you able to find out who was responsible? Is your audit trail robust so you can determine who was responsible for the tweet or post? This does not mean that you are acting in a ‘Big Brother’ role with consequences for such actions. Using social media management software can allow you to identify employees who need more training. They may not understand the impact of what they are saying or are ‘off message’ and reflecting the image the organisation in a poor way.
How can the risk of mistakes be minimised. We are dealing with people so there is always the potential for errors to be made. Using a system that incorporates pre-moderation software for social media means that all messages can be held until signed off by a senior manager and that any inappropriate words will be removed.
Organisations who have large numbers of users who have access to the corporate accounts have a greater need for such software as it also enables them to maintain control over the usage of the account from a central source. This means not only can errors be eliminated but best practice can be shared to help the business improve its usage of social media. The investment must surely be worth it or is your reputation worth so little!