Social Media hold business to account - Business Works
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Social Media hold business to account

by Paul Galpin, Managing Director, P2P Mailing In a recent experiment by the BBCs The One Show, five companies were contacted by twitter and e-mail and asked to respond to a problem. Interestingly, all five companies replied more quickly and with a more personalised response to the tweets. Its clear that companies are becoming more sensitive to the power of social media writes Paul Galpin, Managing Director of P2P Mailing. For online retailers in particular, bad news can travel fast when delivery failings occur. In order to protect their brand reputation, many forward-thinking companies are working with expert partners to optimise their delivery operations.

The evolution of Social Media has been a product of the internet. Whether its Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, Social Media are now part of our everyday lives. Findings from UPS show that 84% of online shoppers use at least one SM website. And, whilst social media has given consumers a ready-platform to share views and news, it has also provided a means for disgruntled shoppers to show their dissatisfaction with online retailers.

irritation with a companys service standards can be instantly expressed

Our research shows that almost a quarter (23.5%) of respondents said that they had already used social media to complain about poor order and delivery services. In todays time-pressured society, writing a letter or phoning a call centre to criticise a service takes time and requires a special effort. But access to social media is quick and easy via smartphones, tablets and laptops. These devices travel everywhere with consumers and irritation with a companys service standards can be instantly expressed.

For online businesses, the implications of this trend are serious.

By using Social Media to comment about poor service, consumers are immediately broadcasting this message to followers / friends. This means that potentially thousands of prospective customers have been given a negative view of the company from the outset, with the risk that they buy elsewhere.

Fulfilment and delivery excellence are recognised as essential to customer satisfaction. Therefore it is critical that a secure and efficient infrastructure is in place to ensure goods get to consumers at the specified time. Failure to deliver promptly could mean that retailers lose the customers that they have disappointed, but they could also alienate a raft of potential customers that they havent even yet engaged with.

For forward-thinking companies, outsourcing the delivery and fulfilment processes is proving to be more practical than taking on the task in-house. This option allows companies to harness the expertise that a specialist partner can bring. The best partners have well-established relationships with carriers across the globe and are able to flexibly match the right delivery service to a particular job.

Indeed, an expert partner should have the know-how to point companies to delivery solutions that are specifically geared towards enhancing the consumer experience, thus mitigating the likelihood for negative comments in the first place. Such solutions offer maximum choice and convenience to the consumer in terms of delivery options and can provide total end-to-end visibility of the delivery process including proof of delivery at the point of handover.

Todays consumers demand excellent customer service. Social Media makes it very easy for disgruntled customers to spread their dissatisfaction, potentially damaging company reputation. Expert partners can help to ensure that distribution solutions not only meet customer expectations but serve to enhance the shopping experience. And just as Social Media can quickly spread the bad news, so the opposite is true. Consistently delight customers and the good news can travel fast.

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