For a company that has re-established itself as one who actively listens to their customers’ opinions online, Domino’s Pizza shows that even when you welcome customer feedback, social customer service can still go wrong.
Domino’s, who is perhaps more used to apologizing than taking compliments on Facebook, mistook a customer’s praise for a complaint.
When a customer took a picture of her pizza and decided to share it on their Facebook page, commending them on how she had the “Best Pizza Ever”, Domino’s responded by apologising and redirected her to their contact page – leaving everyone questioning, how much does Domino’s really understand their customers’ social feedback?
There are many benefits of using social customer service, but with that comes new challenges; a response alone isn’t enough. This Domino’s blunder picked up attention online, with onlookers presuming that a completely automated system has been put in place. Relying upon automation to handle service issues - whether this is indeed delivered by software, or even by team members following templates - can do more harm than good for your image as a company that gets social, and listens to its customers.
Over the last couple of weeks we have been through the importance of social media training. People expect a new type of engagement over social media, and are open to sharing a wider range of experiences with companies on a public platform. This is important to bear in mind when developing a strategy for responding. Social is unlike any other customer service medium, in that agents are faced with a huge variety of conversations minute to minute. Developing the right processes and training to recognise this is key to successful social customer care.
One person’s mistake can have a huge effect on the reputation of a whole company. But what’s particularly prominent in the Domino’s example, is that their response to the blunder appears to have only added to the confusion. After realising their mistake, Domino’s offered the customer this response:
It’s not clear if this is sarcasm, or sincerity. Tone of voice on social channels can be a minefield if you’re not well-prepared, particularly when dealing with a crisis or embarrassment. Brands like O2 have delivered humour to good effect, but it’s hard to predict how your audience will react to different tones. Social customer service must offer a combination of personality and sincerity, brevity and clarity. Training and preparation is key to help your agents get this right for customers; but a real education on how to interpret diverse conversations, rather than spoon-feeding your team stock responses, is best way for your team to truly master social customer care. Until agents are able to deliver their own replies confidently and autonomously to public social platforms, we recommend establishing an approval process for outgoing messages. This allows management to not only catch mistakes, but aid the training process.
We feel for Domino’s; their heart is clearly in the right place, and they’re trying to offer a better customer experience. The vast majority of their engagement listens to customers’ problems, but unfortunately one mistake can go a long way on social media, and misunderstandings can soon displace a good track record. What’s more, redirection to other channels is remnant of contact centre bots, and undermines personable language.
The lesson learned from this example is just how important it is to treat each customer as unique and to dedicate resources to offering an individualised service on the channels customers prefer. Fast reactions are important on social, but taking a few moments to get it right can save you bad press.