This past April, a major American hosting company experienced a meltdown. Numerous dedicated servers were down for over eight hours, which affected tens of thousands of customers, including myself. Naturally, numerous business owners were upset. This was the second or third time the hosting company had unanticipated downtime, and customers were quick to voice their opinions on social media sites.
How could a company with such a stellar reputation get bashed in the form of over 500 social media posts? They never gave me or many of their other customers real, honest answers. Instead, generic answers were given to customers, which only increased the outrage. Instead of actually providing customer support, the company would provide small business owners and enterprises updates on social media sites that went something like the following:
Quick Update: Our team is working through the issues in our data centers, phone systems, and chat systems that our customer support team uses. We promise to keep working until service has been fully restored. Thank you for your patience and support.
Then, they started deleting negative comments from their Facebook page! I have since cancelled my service with the company. They refused to answer customer questions such as the nature of the problem and how it would be avoided in the future. I did not trust a company that avoided answering customer questions, and I cancelled my service. I’m glad I did. There was another major service outage the following month.
Build a Brand Around Honesty and Trust
Your customers aren’t stupid. They know when they’re being given the runaround by a fast-talking customer service representative, or worse, a generic social media post. People appreciate when brands are honest. Additionally, it’s easier to be honest. When you tell the truth, you don’t have to have elaborate schemes or a great memory about past lies and half-truths told. Advanced help desk systems like Cayzu give your employees the tools they need to take care of the rest.
Employee and Brand Limitations That Stem From Dishonesty
Open and honest communication between brands and customers builds lasting loyalty and trust. Instead of trying to conceal internal problems, give customers real answers. After all, your current and prospective customers all have Internet access. Nothing looks worse than numerous complaints written by real people. Additionally, a brand cannot effectively connect with an audience that does not trust it. Customer service initiatives can only do so much for customers that are angry that they cannot get a straight answer.
Dishonesty is one of the most frowned upon traits any small business or brand can acquire. It’s almost impossible to wipe the slate clean after a major fiasco and communication breakdown. You can only delete so many negative posts on social media sites. Interestingly, negative comments can be a chance for your brand to show others that you really do care and your brand is easy to connect with, unlike the faceless hosting provider that will continue to also remain nameless.
Be Honest and Upfront to Grow a Loyal Customer Base
People know that sh*t happens. Admit to incidents on your end, and come up with solutions that will make them right. Address concerns quickly and efficiently, and show your target audience that you offer something better than the competition; you offer genuine outstanding customer service and exceptional communication. Your customers will love you for it!