Over the weekend, Buffer, a company that lets you automate your social media sharing process, was hacked. However, the company handled it like a champ, sending out emails and putting up blog post updates that provided information on a regular basis.
Here are three lessons I took away from this incident.
Immediately Acknowledge There’s a Problem
As soon as Buffer realized it had been hacked, the company sent out an apology and informational email. The company also responded quickly to emails, social media posts, and comments on its blog. There was no hiding or keeping silent. This earned the organization huge kudos in the eyes of its customers.
The bottom line: If you don’t recognize there’s a problem, there’s no way to fix it. The approach of putting your head in the sand doesn’t work. Another bad plan is to simply throw resources at a problem without really understanding the “why” of the issue.
First, you need to acknowledge that technology problems can and do happen (on a regular basis, as a matter of fact). Next, you have to install a system that will let you monitor your environment, pinpoint the origin of issues, and handle them quickly, at the source, before too many (or preferably any) customers are affected.
Customers are savvy and know that if they consistently receive bad service from one company, they can easily jump to competitors. If you encounter a problem, apologize, figure out what went wrong, and then fix it – quickly.
When Buffer let customers know its employees were doing everything they could to fix the problem they were encountering, they got an extraordinarily positive reaction. It even brought the company some new business from people who felt their trust increased as a result of Buffer’s transparency. (Check out some of the comments at the bottom of the blog post mentioned above if you’d like to see examples of this.)
The bottom line: When you let your customers know you have a solution in place to find glitches or issues, people appreciate it and think better of you.
In an ideal world, no customer would ever be affected by a bad experience. That said, people understand that sometimes unexpected problems crop up that will mar the customer experience. While you can’t expect customers to be happy about that type of situation, you can alleviate their pain by doing everything you can to fix the situation – and letting them know the steps you are taking to make that happen.
Transparency increases customer confidence, which, in turns, increases business for you. It’s a win all around.
Continue to Improve
Bad things happen to good companies. In this case it was a hack. In many of Empirix’s customers’ cases, it’s a breakdown in the communications system. To imagine these things don’t happen is a mistake (see point #1).
The bottom line: If you’re proactive and always looking to improve, you can avoid many of the headaches these issues would have caused.
Use analytics technology to your advantage and uncover areas that are becoming problematic – before they impact your customers. It’s much easier to deal with burgeoning problems before they come to a head than to try to mop up issues after they’ve become public.
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