If you are a small business owner or entrepreneur, then your online brand is crucial to your business. Unfortunately, many companies and business people forget that it takes a lifetime to build up their reputation but only a few seconds to ruin it. Here’s one surefire way to alienate your customers online while killing your brand.
Your customers and peers want to know what is going on when there is a change at your company that impacts their business. Keeping them in the dark is not a smart business move and there is no excuse for not communicating.
Exhibit A – Good Company, Bad Communication
Imagine you have your website hosting with what is supposed to be a great company and on day all 7 of your websites and 3 of your blogs go down. Now, I’m not talking error pages – just a nice white page that greets your customers.
First, you wonder if it is something you did and try to call the web hosting company to find out how to fix it. As their 800 customer service number rings busy in your ear, you start to realize the problem is bigger than something you could have done. No problem – they have a live chat on their website. You click the link that says, “Open for Live Chat” and get an error message that they have closed all chat channels.
With your head spinning, you make your way over to their Twitter account. (Which you had to guess because it wasn’t on their website.) There you find only 1 tweet ever posted, 7 months ago and it tells you, “embracing twitter, more exciting news to come, stay tuned….”.
With no phone, live chat, Twitter or any other way to contact the web host company, you use Twitter Search using their name. Lo and behold! Hundreds of tweets are flooding the page with more coming in every second. It isn’t just you! It’s everyone and it’s a major outage!
Twitter comes to the rescue – but only through the communication of other customers. You start to see quotes from technical support that only a handful of lucky customers were able to get before the system went haywire stating that it is a PHP issue and could take up to an hour to fix. Then someone else posts a link to recent web host hacker issues, including those on your own web host.
Customers Communication Better Than The Company
All the communication that should have come from the company is sent through other customers that went to work scouring the Internet or were lucky enough to have their call answered before the web host took the phone lines down. With just one tweet, your web host could have given you an acknowledgment of the problem, estimated time of recovery and even a link to current news to help you better understand the situation. Instead, their Twitter account sat idle while their customers – the ones paying them to do the work – took it upon themselves to stop working and help others.
Surely, within an hour, your websites come up and everything is running smoothly again. What? This couldn’t happen to you? Think again! This happened to me just this week with Bluehost.com!
- Using an already existing Twitter account to communicate the issue – 30 seconds of their time
- Using Twitter to keep customers abreast of the hacker issues – 30 seconds each tweet
The expense of their lack of communication probably cost the company 10% or more of their customers. Depending on how many websites each of those clients maintains with this company that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost revenue.
Alienate your customers through lack of communication equals unhappy customers who will not only pull their own business but will tell everyone in their social media circles why they should stay away from your company.