I recently gave a presentation on Social Networking to Software Alliance Wales and Accredit UK, talking about using channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to engage with both existing and potential customers.
Some participants were keen to learn more about how Social Networking can be used to listen to customer feedback. I cited some examples of hotels and restaurants who actively search Social Networking and Media channels for people mentioning their brand-name, so they can engage with those people directly.
This interaction can vary from responding to the individual who Tweets “Looking forward to staying at the Red Lion Hotel in Devon” by making sure they had a complimentary bottle of wine waiting upon arrival with a note thanking them for the Tweet, to helping resolve the complaint of the individual visiting a restaurant who when asked at the end of their meal whether everything was to their satisfaction said “Yes”, but then got home and Tweeted “Had meal at The Hen and Chickens tonight. Was nice, but the Gravy was cold”. The opportunity here is obvious.
The Metropole Hotel
Interestingly, I cited the example of The Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells, Wales where we were situated for the meeting. Being a “Mr. Green”, I’d really liked that the hotel had installed some environmentally friendly power-saving features in the room, but lamented the fact that I was disappointed by the shower in my bathroom not working. I had said so on Twitter early that morning, and so shared this with the delegates – stating that if I were The Metropole, I’d pick up on this Tweet and use it as an opportunity to engage with me directly about it.
(On a side-note, Vaughan Shayler of Accredit UK responded via Twitter with his thoughts, which is a lesson all IT companies should learn from.)
I gave this all no more thought until after check-out, when I received an e-mail from the hotel asking if I’d mind giving them feedback via FeeFo – a web-based system specifically tailored for Customer Feedback. Interested to see whether this was simple the hotel paying lip-service to Customer Feedback or not, I took 30 seconds to leave my comments.
To my pleasant surprise, I had an e-mail in return from the Managing Director of The Metropole, who thanked me for the feedback, said he’d checked the room I’d stayed in and explained that a “non return valve” in the shower had broken, but it was now fixed with the hotels apologies.
Impressed, I naturally updated my Twitter feed to compliment the hotel on it’s dedication to customer service.
What just happened?
A number of things have happened here:-
- As a customer, I like the fact that I’d been given the opportunity to feedback my thoughts.
- More importantly, I felt acknowledged by the Managing Directors response – how many times have you complained about something only for it to be shrugged off or for your complaint to be heard only for you to walk away saying “They’ll not bother to do anything about that”.
- Other people, who I’ve never met and never will meet, may eyeball my Tweets about The Metropole (or this blog post) and decide they want to stay at a venue like that – creating favourable potential customers.
There’s a fourth positive too, and that’s that The Metropole have their FeeFo rating listed on The Metropole web-site homepage:-
Whenever I look at other hotels web-sites, if I see a strong FeeFo Service rating, I’m going to be more inclined to stay at that hotel. A win for FeeFo and the other hotels that use the service.
Incidentally, I’d never visited The Metropole web-site (I booked my room through a 3rd party) until I was presented with the link in that FeeFo e-mail, and thanks to that link I’ve also found The Metropole on Twitter too where they are clearly doing a good job of engaging with existing and potential customers.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line – all this meant my opinion of this hotel went from passively satisfied to active fan.
This principle of seeking out feedback holds true for any brand. Do you have a Facebook Fan page to make it easy for people to tell others how they love you, or give you the opportunity to receive feedback? Are you using services such as SocialOomph and Google Alerts to keep track of what people are saying about you specifically? Additionally, why not keep an eye out for conversations where you can add value – if you’re an MSP in Banbury, a regular search on “IT Support Banbury” could yield a number of opportunities to engage with companies or individuals who are looking for a chat about the subject.