Social Media Crisis Follow-Up

Posted on April 28, 2010

Social Media Crisis In My Rear View Mirror Social Media Crisis Follow-Up

I wrote a case study of how Sear Home Stores’ quick response helped mitigate a social media nightmare. You can read that story here: The Anatomy of a Social Media Nightmare Averted – A Case Study

In the post I said that the Sear Home Stores’ response team had done a great job in a tough situation. However, many people asked what they might have done better. So, I put the question to Sear Home Stores’ social media expert, Shaunak Dave. Here are a few of his thoughts from that experience.

Steve Farnsworth (@Steveology)

Guest Post

By Shaunak Dave (@SearsHTS)

So, a little time has passed since and I had some thoughts.

What we did well

We were digitally savvy here. As a team within Sears, we mobilized swiftly to understand, assess, and raise the urgency for a very public situation. As a result, we contacted the customer, extended our apologies, and moved down the path for reconciliation so quickly that the customer and Sears consider the issue resolved in less than two hours.

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Also, we appreciate The Consumerist giving us the opportunity to voice our response. Combined with our response on Reddit, we were able to leverage the power of Internet virality to spread the word about our response.

What we might have done better

Sincere apologies should be immediate and present. When dissatisfied customers contact us, we should be ready to extend a sincere apology as a first response. I’m not saying the apology acknowledges fault, but it acknowledges that we are listening first (which goes to being business and digital savvy).

Plus, apologies humanize us and diffuse tense situations. And, because we are a national marketer, we already have resources, mechanisms, and processes in place to fix problems. But, that gets negated without the sincere apology. This is a process of continuous improvement and we are relentless iterating it.

What we would have done different

Nothing, really. Our basic tenet is to the right thing for the customer first, then company. As a result, we have a 98% save rate and why we created our own social network, MySears, which lets our customers voice their opinions (positive / neutral / negative).

That said, one worry is the perception that Sears will give customers anything if / when their issues are aired loud enough in a public way. For us, social media is another customer facing channel and we embrace it. Like I’ve said in our first post, we look for “dissatisfied” customers, not to buy anyone’s silence, but to build relationships and create brand loyalists.

Shaunak Davé is the Director of Multi-Channel Marketing at Sears Hometown Stores based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

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