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4 Tips to Creating a Fool-proof Crisis Response Plan

By Rachel Tran on Aug 27, 2013 1:03:00 PM

If your brand has a social media presence, its reputation depends on good customer service. Today it’s commonplace for customers to use Facebook and Twitter to publicly air their negative experiences, and the audience ready to hear these complaints is ever-growing too.

As social media takes up home in the contact centre - to be managed by those who can best handle these complaints, but removed from the hands of PR and communications - it becomes ever more important to develop a rigorous crisis response plan.

And developing the right infrastructure gives you greater resources and reach to put out the flames for any PR crisis that spreads to social media.

Even tried and tested methods can be thrown by a new, viral crisis, so here we share some tips with you from those businesses who have learnt the hard way the merits of watertight crisis response.

Prepare Your Team

When a potential social media crisis materialises, it certainly isn’t the time to sit down and plan the best responses. We’ve talked with businesses that have react successfully to a crisis; and a good way to deliver a fast reaction is to draft in advance a series of approved responses to different types of more challenging customer messages for their customer service teams. This allows agents to demonstrate that they are listening and to avoid appearing evasive.

Avoid Silence

As soon as a potential social media crisis develops, you have to be quick on your feet and create a holding message. Remember, your customers are watching and look out for quick reactions to issues over social media – catch on to potential emerging crises before your customers do, and make it apparent that you’re listening.

Establish Boundaries

Establish clear criteria for when social conversations have to be escalated to your PR team. When messages present a real threat to your reputation, they should pass out of the hands of your Social Customer Service team and over to your communications team that handles these issues across all channels. Confer with different departmental heads about what qualifies for a high-alert message - this could be a combination of sensitive subject matter, and the number of likes/shares/comments it receives before it should be escalated.

Who’s who?

Have a schedule drawn up outlining who will be responsible for dealing with escalated messages at any given time. This way, you will always have someone on call to handle messages which could potentially turn into a social media crisis, and agents will never be left unsure of where to turn.  

Social demands a new approach to crisis, where corporate silence or PR statements fail to satisfy expectations for social brands due to the public nature of questions and complaints. Although a crisis rescue plan is important, the best way to ensure against things going wrong is to manage a healthy community whose needs are met and understands that real people are alert to their conversations. Delivering a high level of personalized engagement is the best way to combat negativity online, which ultimately affects the bottom line.

Download your free quick guide into Building an Engagement Machine today and read more about how to build a secure infrastructure for social customer care. For more on preventing Social Media Crisis, be sure to download our new Social Media Crisis Guide.

Click to Download Your Free Quick Guide

Topics: Customer Service

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