It’s festival time and understandably, the two e-commerce websites, Amazon and Flipkart did everything to make us open our wallets and shop. Both the e-commerce giants raked in over 15,000 crores together during their five days festive season[i]. However, the festive sale turned out to be a dampener for many customers. Few customers received a wrong product, while in some cases; they canceled or delayed the delivery without intimating the customer.
Some customers even faced issues because the company failed to address their concern on time.
To put it briefly, while both the companies did phenomenal business in these five days, they lost the goodwill of several customers around the same time.
The Right and Wrong of Response
Let’s analyze their responses to understand what’s wrong and how they could have set it right with a correct response.
Let us take the Flipkart’s example first. The complaint was about a delivery that was for someone else.
The first response from Flipkart was the standard reply that says they will connect with the complainant at the earliest. Fair enough. But, there were two problems in this conversation.
i. The complainant had tweeted on 14th October at 8.58 PM, while Flipkart responded the next day at 6.51 PM with a standard response. There was almost 22 hours delay in responding to the customer’s problem.
ii. For the time taken by Flipkart in responding to the issue, the response could have been more genuine and customized. Ideally, the customer care should have addressed the problem in these 22 hours! But they didn’t. After giving a standard response, Flipkart probably did not follow up with the complainant because her next tweet on 15th October, 8.32 PM said that almost 24 hours had passed by and there was no update. Flipkart was prompt in replying this time with just one-minute lapse. However, they did not seem to have taken action for at least 72 hours as per what we understood from the complainant’s barrage of tweets.
Flipkart finally responded to the complainant and addressed her query after exactly a week. However, as per the last tweet in the thread, the problem was not resolved.
According to Convince and Convert, a digital marketing advisory firm, 42% of the customers expect a response within 60 minutes on social media! A 72-hour lapse can damage the reputation of a company[i].
We, at Trooya, have also set a benchmark for responding to complaints on Twitter, Facebook and other websites within 1 to 24 hours depending upon the social media channel and the nature of the complaint.
Flipkart should have ideally sent the first standard response within an hour and asked the complainant to send the details of her complaint via direct message. This would have helped the customer service team to look into the matter and come up with a solution within 24 hours instead of making the customer wait for one week! A standard response of ‘one of our specialists will connect with you at the earliest’ without asking for the customer’s details could give the customer a wrong impression that the company disregards their complaint.
Now let’s look at how Amazon dealt with a complaint.
Amazon was faster in responding to the complaint. The complainant, in this case, had tweeted on 11th October at 9:02 PM while Amazon responded at 9:21 PM, within 19 minutes!
They also sent a link where the complainant could fill the details of their concern. This showed that the company was concerned about the problem and willing to help the customer. However, what followed was a back and forth communication between the complainant and the customer care, which resulted in an inconclusive and abrupt end to a conversation.
At one point, the problem started becoming complicated as Amazon asked the customer to check if he received a correspondence from the team and asked him to write back if not resolved.
Amazon could have handled the issue in a better way by interacting with the customer directly and offering a solution instead of asking them to check for the complaint status and follow up, which consumes the customer’s time.
Key Takeaways from the Two Examples
Issues like these are inevitable especially during festive sales when the transaction volume is high. There will be delays and error in delivery. However, that cannot be an excuse while addressing customer complaints. While companies spend millions on marketing activities, they must also focus on building a strong online response management system to ensure that the customers get answers to their concerns immediately.
If you are planning a marketing campaign for your company during the holiday season, then you must also be prepared to address the complaints quickly and efficiently.
Here are a few things that we at Trooya recommend you to do[i]:
#1 – Don’t make them wait longer
Imagine calling up a call center and waiting on the line for one week to hear from them. Sounds frustrating, isn’t it? That’s exactly how your customer would feel if they are made to wait for a long time for a response. Set a benchmark for responding on each channel and try to adhere to it. A week can be a long time for a customer who received a wrong product from you and wants a refund.
#2 – Move beyond ‘we understand.’
Be human in your conversation. Of course, the first response can be an empathetic reply stating that you understand their concern and will look into the matter. However, you cannot give the same response each time. Like Amazon, you can create a separate section on your website where the customer can write their complaint, or you can ask them to direct message their concern and contact number so you can contact them and find an immediate solution to it.
#3 – Respond, don’t react
Deleting a negative comment, ignoring a complaint, or indulging in lengthy debates with the client is an absolute no-no. Train your team to respond to the customer at the first instance to ensure that people know you keep track of the complaints and then take it offline or private to resolve it. You can also request the complainant to tweet saying the issue has been resolved or respond to the original tweet stating that the complaint has been resolved and closed. This will help in bringing the conversation to its logical conclusion.
Unlike other channels of customer complain such as emails and toll-free numbers, social media has a wider reach and more visibility. So, a single mistake can spiral into a major controversy and tarnish the image of the brand.
Thus, it is important to have a professional online response management team to handle your social media reputation efficiently.
If you are wondering how to get started on responding with the customers, then relax. We got you covered. Trooya specializes in building cloud-based social media contact center for our clients. We delight your end customers in an objective and human way, and you, our clients with deep insights on how the issues are resolved. To get an understanding of how Trooya works, register with us for a free trial. We will be glad to walk you through what we do.
Written for Germin8 by Gayathri Vishwanathan.