Our In 60 Seconds series addresses a number of concerns and emerging trends in online marketing.
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Just one week ago, millions of people eagerly waited for flower deliveries that would never come. Valentine's Day is the second busiest flower delivery day, right behind Mother's Day, and is a massive money maker for floral companies. But this year, one company experienced major glitches with their online ordering system and when outraged customers swarmed their customer service department, it was social media to the rescue.
1-800 Flowers is one of the largest Floral retailers and many customers chose to even pay extra delivery fees to ensure their purchases would be delivered on time. Not only were many of their deliveries late, many didn't arrive at all. Angry husbands and boyfriends had to try to explain to hurt wives and significant others the flower company was the legitimate reason they were left empty handed.
I personally had a friend call and try to get through to a customer service rep by phone and finally 2 days after Valentine's Day have his issue resolved. Many other consumers experienced the same problems but weren't as patient and decided to take their frustrations out via social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter.
Post after post, tweet after tweet began streaming on the 1-800 Flower Facebook page and Twitter feed. Instead of ignoring these comments, the company decided to try to resolve customer complaints and responding to individuals using direct messaging features. Many customers who earlier landblasted the lack of customer service were now praising the company's social media savvy.
Social media has become an integral part of online marketing, especially for B2C companies. One of the biggest fears any company has is, "What if someone posts negative comments on our Facebook page or Twitter, what do we do?".
The best advice we can give is to make sure you have a plan in place to respond to negative press the same way you handle positive feedback. Prompt, upfront responses are best that directly speak to the situation. Although we encourage most companies to push communication off-line if possible, it doesn't help a situation to delete negative comments (as long as they aren't inappropriate) and act like nothing has happened.
Even though 1-800 Flowers crashed and burned on one of their busiest days of the year, cheers to their social media team that took a situation covered in fertilizer and turned it around, they are the ones that truly deserve a bouquet of flowers.