Social media always has been a place for customers to voice their likes, dislikes, thoughts and opinions, and feel like they are being heard. Brands are measured and judged for their interactions and engagement with social media sites – particularly brands that value customer service.
Delta is one such company that has placed a lot of emphasis on customer service during the last few years – and it has paid off. I am a huge promoter of the company, because the in-flight experience is just so much better than other domestic carriers, and the people are great too. So, I was a bit surprised when I visited Delta’s Facebook page and saw not one response to any negative customer comments. It didn’t seem very in-line with their dedication to customer service.
Positive comments, they like and respond to, but negative comments they just leave alone.
And you know what the crazy thing is? It seems to work. Looking at the month of May, the vast majority of Delta’s comments are positive, and the negative commenters don’t continue spamming their pages with negative comments.
On the company’s “about” tab, they give a brief explanation of why they don’t reply to comments, but it’s buried four paragraphs down:
“Need a response to a complaint or immediate help?
Due to privacy concerns, we are unable to respond via Facebook to complaints concerning a difficulty or a problem you may have experienced using Delta Services. Therefore, to receive a response, please visit http://www.delta.com/help/contact_us/, the Delta Assist tab here on our page, or send us snail mail”
Is it really because of privacy, or is it because Delta has found that engaging with negative commenters gives them the impetus to continue spamming Delta’s Facebook page with negative comments? Not sure, but I’m on board with this strategy (and as a side note, it seems the Delta Assist Facebook tab is now defunct. I certainly can’t find it!).
Delta is using one of the oldest plays in the book – take it offline. Direct customers to a web form or an email address, but don’t continue the conversation on your own Facebook page for all of your other customers to see.
Interestingly enough, the company uses the same strategy on Twitter, the social customer service mecca. To keep their @Delta feed as positive as possible, they have a second account – @DeltaAssist, where they handle all customer service queries. That said, they still link customers out to their help page in the @DeltaAssist handle description. Their ultimate goal is to get these comments offline where they can.
I have to hand it to Delta. They’ve been very strategic about how to maintain brand integrity and customer service focus. They continue to field customer complaints and negative comments, but they’ve done it in a way that enables them to maintain the positive brand image they’ve painstakingly created during the last five years. Now that’s a social media strategy.