Missed Opportunities with Social Media
When it comes to social media, some companies get it. Some don't. There really doesn't seem to be a middle ground.
This morning I went to a restaurant I regularly frequent for breakfast but hadn't been there for several weeks while I was on vacation. It's a major national casual dining chain. The food is decent if predictable and a bit over-priced for breakfast. But it's convenient and the wait staff is generally good.
Part of my morning routine is to buy a newspaper to read while I dine. When I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed the newspaper vending machines weren't in their usual place. I looked around and didn't see them anywhere. So after going inside, I asked the waitress and she said the company had ordered them taken out and added that the trash receptacles had been taken away as well.
Since this particular facility had been recently remodeled on the inside, I presumed this action was someone's misguided attempt to dress up the exterior image. However, simply moving the machines to the side of the building would have seemed a less radical solution. Since many people enjoy a side of news with their morning meal, eliminating the newspaper vending machines altogether is a bit of a disincentive for potential patrons.
Now I am not typically a complainer, nor a hard-core user of social media for venting purposes, but I thought I'd share my experience and suggestions on the company's Facebook page. Shortly after I posted, I got a reply that the company was sorry about my experience and that I could call a provided number during certain hours. No comment on the specifics of the situation. Just a note that I should call them.
It was their customer service line and I spoke to a nice person who had no idea what I was calling about. After I filled her in, she said a regional manager would be notified about my experience. I suggested that he or she may want to look at my Facebook post for a bit more context. No comment. No request for my contact information. No real response positive or negative. End of conversation.
A few hours later out of curiosity, I went to the company Facebook page. The post was no longer there or the form reply. I noticed that virtually all the posts on the site were essentially company commercials. No real attempt at dialog or customer engagement. In fact, and I find this interesting, the next post was an announcement that read as follows (except for my redactions):
Hey South Bend fans - your restaurant is getting a refresh! We will be temporarily closed during construction, but look forward to seeing you at the grand re-openings. Details below...
So, at least in my humble opinion, the company had the chance to engage me in a conversation that could have led to a conversion from my negative experience. They failed to take advantage of that opportunity. Just as they failed to understand the correct way to use social media.
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