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How Are America’s Leading Restaurants Filling Our Appetite for Social Customer Service?

By Rachel Tran on Oct 2, 2012 4:06:00 PM

With millions of followers and fans on each social network, which of the biggest names in the food-food industry actually listen and engage with their customers?

Image source: Food and Drink Digital

There are many ways to get in contact with your favourite fast-food restaurants online, whether you want to check-in through Four Square, share food photos on Instagram, or compliment the service you received via Twitter.

QRS Web recently released an infographic featuring the Top 10 restaurants on social networks. Successful and savvy social media campaigns can help any brand accumulate millions of followers and fans on social networks, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect how many real, loyal fans you have offline. The true measurement comes from how these brands interact and respond to their customers, in such a way that they become more than an online “fan” and become somewhat of a brand ambassador – spreading the word of the company and maintaining the positive reputation of the brand.

We looked at the four most popular fast-food brands on social media who have done a great job building an online fanbase, but how well do they rank when it comes to social customer service?

Starbucks – With over 34,765,908 likes and followers across all their social channels, Starbucks is currently the most socially engaged restaurant online. The globally-known coffee house’s popularity is not only down to their effective social campaigns and people’s love for their beverages, but also due to the brand proactively listening to their customers and fans. Starbucks’ “My Starbucks Idea” is a website dedicated to listening to customer suggestions and allowing its community to vote and discuss ideas put forward by other fans. Starbucks also use their social channels to interact with their customers daily, creating an online persona which is approachable for everyone – reinforcing why they have become such an online sensation with their customers.

McDonald’s – One of the world’s biggest brand names falls shortly behind Starbucks when it comes to online popularity. Collectively across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +, McDonald’s boasts over 22 million fans and likes, significantly lower than Starbucks. Their latest social customer service efforts come in the form of the “Our Food. Your Questions” initiative for McDonald’s Canada. The campaign invites customers to ask questions about their products, with all answers provided by the response team personalized and shareable across social platforms. This offers a transparent social customer service medium for McDonald’s, whilst also creating a buzz around their brand for their witty and honest answers. It would be a great step for McDonald’s to take the open dialogue and transparency used on the “Our Food. Your Questions” marketing campaign and their @McDonaldsCorp handle so it is consistent through all of their Facebook and Twitter accounts - rather than leaving genuine customer concerns directed at them unanswered for millions of fans to see.

Subway – Coming in at third place in the “Top 10 Restaurants in Social Media” infographic, Subway are not one to shy away from social customer service. With less than half the Facebook “likes” of Starbucks, the sandwich chain are number one when it comes to customer satisfaction on social media according to a recent study conducted by NYU Professor Liel Leibovitz. Subway are well known for listening, interacting, and sharing customer stories with playful tones to let their customers know how valuable they are to the company. They are not afraid to openly reply to serious customer queries, and openly thank customers for being a fan of their subs!

Taco Bell – The Mexican fast food chain ranks fourth place for top restaurants in social media with over 9 million fans on Twitter and Facebook, but this huge number doesn’t stop them from effectively replying to their customers. Taco Bell has recently gained some media attention surrounding their funny Twitter replies, especially around their swipe at Old Spice’s tweet and quirky response to @MensHumor’s tweet. Taco Bell has built a large following on Twitter and Facebook through their frank, candor and sharp customer service responses – never leaving a single customer query unanswered. Their frequent engagement with customers online will continue to grow their social popularity.

The biggest names in the fast-food restaurant industry are using social media to its full potential; not only through successful marketing campaigns but also embracing the effectiveness of online customer service – more so than the fashion industry. These brands are leveraging social media sites to deliver great customer service online by being authentic, transparent, and most importantly, approachable.

What do you think about these fast-food restaurants approach to social customer service? Are there any other great examples of restaurants on social media that springs to mind? We’re interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Got any suggestion for what you’d like to hear from us? Send them over to Rachel@conversocial.com or@Conversocial. We’re always looking for new ideas!

Topics: Customer Service, Hospitality

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