The growth of the Internet and social media in particular is changing the face of customer service. Customers can publicly praise or condemn a business, on their Facebook walls or Twitter feeds for example. The business then has to respond publicly in the best possible way. At lot is at stake and businesses need to be set up to deal with these situations appropriately and diplomatically.
An example of how not to deal with criticism is the response from FemFresh to some audience backlash to one of their adverts in 2012. They showed a complete lack of understanding of social media, first by asking people to stop posting comments and second by deleting their Facebook page because they didn’t know how to deal with the negativity effectively.
Bodyform recently received a rather tongue in cheek wall post from a man who claimed that Bodyform had misled men for years about how women experience ‘that time of the month’. It took Bodyform just over a week to respond with a video that has since gone viral and reached over 3 million views on YouTube (at the time of writing). See this genius piece of social media marketing below:
Bodyform video apology
The way that Bodyform used social media on this occasion is a lesson that all brands should learn from. The complaint was hardly a serious one but the same principle could quite easily be applied to a range of comments or complaints. Here are the three major lessons to be learned from Bodyform (not a sentence I ever imagined writing!):
- Turn negative experiences into positive ones - Unlike FremFresh, Bodyform spun a negative experience into one that has been completely to their advantage. The nature of social media (humanity!) and the anonymity and freedom given to individuals will necessarily give rise to negativity and silliness. This isn’t worth deleting your page for. It is about having a strategy for managing these interactions and seeing these situations as opportunities.
- Engage with your social media audience - Bodyform demonstrated an understanding of social media and ultimately an understanding of social media audiences. They engaged in a conversation with their audience in an unexpected and entertaining way. This engagement led to sharing which has caused the video to go viral. The clue is in the title… ‘social’ media. People want to be social, they want to interact, and a businesses that can interact with their customers will build loyalty to their brand.
- Use social media as a branding opportunity - The subtle branding in this video is extremely clever. We aren’t bombarded by it but the ‘blue’ liquid drink and the Bodyform jingle ringtone are moments of pure inspiration from whoever directed this video. The use of humor projects a particular image of the company and it’s personality. Social media is an opportunity to bring your brand to life in the eyes of your target market.
Video and social media have increased the ways in which businesses can deliver top notch customer service experiences. The Emma Blog shared a story about a tweet which led to a personalized video response from a business – giving some advice about how to start running. This example shows a business going the extra mile. As Emma says, they didn’t even need to go that far – they could have just linked to a generic video and she would have appreciated it just as much.
Building quality social media relationships takes time. It is very difficult to achieve social media success instantaneously because effective social media marketing is built on relationships, relationships require trust, and trust takes time. If you learn anything from the Bodyform’s response, remember to be yourself and to inject some humanity (including humor) into your interactions with your audience.