Social Media Complaints: Be Part of the Conversation

Negative feedback on social media sites can seriously damage a hotel’s reputation if ignored. Complaints can quickly spread virally throughout online social networks with great speed – so hoteliers must tackle problems swiftly and transparently.

In a relatively short period of time social media has exploded in size – official statistics reveal that more than half of all UK adults used a social networking site last year.

That’s a surprising statistic; and a potential headache for hoteliers.

Swift Action Required

For the first time in history, both disgruntled and prospective guests occupy the same space regardless of geography and can share personal views instantly. Hoteliers need to react quickly and in real-time.

“It is vital to remember that everyone is entitled to their own opinion – whether you agree with it or not,” explained Holiday Inn Express, Oxford Road, Manchester general manager, Jonathan Smith in a recent column for hotel-industry.co.uk. “If someone says something negative about your hotel, you must not publicly reply and say they are wrong.”

“Rather, it is important to thank the poster for their feedback and offer to speak to them personally (offline) to discuss their issue and to offer a solution.”

“This process must be done as quickly as possible. If a Tweet is posted and a number of people who have experienced similar problems see it, they might be tempted to add their experience. If you react quickly and respond to the original author of the Tweet in real-time, this can diffuse the situation as you have shown your pro-activeness and willingness to rectify the problem.”

With speed of the essence, hoteliers need dedicated systems to monitor and react in real-time. Currently many hotels have left social media to their marketing and PR departments and have not realised its potential with regards to customer service.

CRM with Social Media Capabilities

There are a number of CRM systems currently on the market and many solution providers are now adding social media capabilities.

“Few CRM solutions offer effective social media integration and lack the monitoring, engagement and social CRM (sCRM) features that customer service teams need,” explained Diciamo’s Mario Dolcezza – who is launching Your Impressions next month, a solution for managing customer feedback left on social media.

“Many of the newly emerging sCRM systems don’t integrate effectively with existing systems.”

“However, the latest version of our customer feedback tool integrates multiple sources of customer feedback, including that from social media, in one single location using the new ‘Waves’ platform. This will provide companies not only with invaluable information about their business, but also with tools to build and enhance their customer experience.”

Is Social Media the New Channel for Customer Service?

Great customer service in hotels has always been about building relationships with guests. Social media offers a new channel on which to achieve this – in essence, nothing has changed!

Hoteliers need to be where their guests are. If your business is being discussed on social media, then it is essential that hotel managers and owners are part of that conversation.

To ignore it could cost you your property’s reputation.

Loyal, delighted customers have the essential qualities for great profitability,” concludes Dolcezza.

“They’re much less sensitive to price, spend more per head and are more receptive to cross sales. Happy customers are a business’ greatest source of untapped profit.”

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