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Improving service via social media

Making sure that your club gets talked about is all important. Social Media is a vital weapon in the club armoury when it comes to spreading the word. Some clubs also work with PR agencies to promote themselves still further, so this month we offer top tips on how to find the right consultants to help achieve the club’s goals. Finally – and when you’ve caught up on all that marketing effort – don’t forget the value of sleep.

For clubs, platforms like twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook are becoming essential components of membership management and marketing strategies. An essential part of this is how to deal with the negatives alongside the positives.

According to research undertaken by The Social Habit, 42% of people who make a customer complaint via social media expect a response within an hour. A further 32% demand direct action in as little as 30 minutes.

Kevin Mullaney, Head of Digital at Flagship Consulting, believes that most consumers now expect a rapid service 24/7. “This doesn’t need to be the full answer to their question but an acknowl- edgement of the comment and when the customer can expect a follow up. Customers expect this level of response on weekends too so if your social media teams aren’t available 24-7 then make sure to specify when they are active in the profile’s bio,” he said.

Be quick

Try to respond within one hour of a complaint being left on social media. This doesn’t need to be the full answer to the question raised, but an acknowledgement of the comment and when the complainer can expect a follow up.

Show empathy

With a 140 character limit and no sarcasm filter to speak of, it’s hard to gauge the sentiment of some tweets. Responding to a sarcastic tweet in a serious manner, or conversely offering a jovial response to a serious grievance can be damaging.

Some situations require a friendly, empathetic response with an honest admission of mistakes, while others need to be much more formal and procedural. In some instances, the complaint may be so severe that 140 characters or a short response won’t cut it and you will need to take the conversation offline and away from public view to resolve an issue to satisfaction.

Don’t hide negative responses

Nobody wants to receive negative feedback in a public forum, but the last thing you should do is delete complaints from your timeline (unless they are offensive, of course). Removing genuine complaints will only serve to anger the person who has left them, potentially escalating the situation and making it much worse than it would have been if you’d simply held your hands up, accepted responsibility and offered a solution.

There can even be a positive aspect to having negative reviews; it shows that you are real. Mistakes happen – it’s how you deal with them that matters. A report by Reevoo showed that customers spend more than five times as long on a site that has bad (but trustworthy and genuine) reviews. They also convert nearly 85% more often.

Social Media savvy clubs should enter our Social Media Awards. Not so comfortable with facebook and twitter et al? The sign up for one of BT Sport's free digital training sessions.

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