4 Things The Western Co. Should Be Doing Instead of Engaging a Social Media Agency
If you are active on social media, you’ve probably heard about this fiasco involving one Andy Wong and a local eatery called The Western Co. Andy’s complaint has already been shared over a thousand times. You can read more about the incident from this report by Mothership.
The Western Co. has since “apologised” at about 11 pm on Monday night, and they even mentioned that they would be engaging a social media agency to help serve the customers better. Thus my question to them is “FOR WHAT?”
Shouldn’t this be a time for self-evaluation? Hiring an external agency (and telling the world about it) to manage the page (outsource the issue) is an extremely bad move and based on this other report by Mothership. Besides the obvious need for some social media etiquette, there are also many internal issues The Western Co. needs to address first. In the following, I’m going to share four immediate things that The Western Co should do instead of engaging a social media agency.
1) Apologise, Learn from the Feedback and Move On
There’s a lot of hearsay, so no one really knows the full extent of the real story but as an F&B brand; sad to say “Customers are always right” and there’s no way around this. But since the damage has been done, just apologise and move on already.
While doing so, take a good look at the plethora of feedback that resulted because of this incident; feedback also includes the comments from other customers who had miserable experiences in the past. Brands pay a hefty amount of money on focus groups and online sentiment analysis to garner authentic feedback from their customers. Now that there are tonnes of free authentic feedback, spend some time to evaluate them carefully.
Take inspiration from this quote by Facebook’s COO, Sherly Sandberg
“People who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly.” – Sheryl Sandberg.
2) Define your Brand’s Voice and Tonality on Social Media
If The Western Co. were to engage a social media agency, then establishing the brand’s voice and tonality will likely be the first item up for discussion. But instead of paying for the counsel, let me give some free advice based on my observations. 🙂
A) You can afford to be authentic but being overly truthful and direct can harm your brand, instead be professional about how you respond your customers and always end with a 🙂
B) As a community manager, you cannot afford to be too defensive; as mentioned earlier, as much as you hate it, customers are always right. But, if you come across someone nasty you can always exercise your rights as an admin and delete/hide their comments. (And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to respond to every single negative comment)
C) One important thing that I’ve learned in my community manager days is not to take things personally. Studies have also shown that people tend to be nastier when they are online, so take it with a pinch of salt and focus on the issue at hand instead.
D) Lastly, watch your language and no F bombs pls. it is a strict NO NO unless you are SMRT Feedback!
PS: Having worked as a community manager before, I truly understand the pain and frustration when it comes to negative comments. One advice that an ex-colleague gave me will come in handy “When representing a brand on social media, think of it as you are playing a character in a movie and always KILL them with kindness!”
3) Dish out an Apology Discount
With so much attention right now, one of the things the Western Co. can do is to give out a crazy apology discounts to win back some fans, like a 1-1 time limited promotion, etc. No matter what, Singaporeans all love a great deal!
4) Get an ATM Card Reader
The fiasco started all because of the lack of an ATM Card Reader, so instead of spending (wasting) $$ to engage a social media agency, how about putting up an ATM card reader which can actually earn $$ and maybe even a Visa payWave reader? Like what Uncle Sim says “So Simple.” This will also show customers that The Western Co. is willing to learn from this incident.
Haters are going to hate, and it will take some time to win back the trust from your customers due to this massive fiasco. It’s going be a tough few weeks, but it’s just a matter of time before the keyboard warriors find someone else to hate!