As a company, being involved with social media has many advantages. It allows companies to reach out to people that normally they may have no exposure to. While a company may gain great, loyal customers during this process, many detractors may come out. These people create posts, blogs, or other social media items that could bring about a crisis for the company. How a company handles this social media crisis is the difference between building more fans and ruining a reputation that took many years to build. We defined what a social media crisis is in a previous post.
Here are the seven basic steps you need to take in order to handle a crisis correctly:
1. Learn who is creating the issue. It is important to learn who this person is and how influential they are. Someone who has an issue that only has 50 or 100 followers on Twitter may not seem like a threat. But, if one of their followers has a million followers themselves, this could become a crisis quickly.
2. Figure if this is even an issue at all. When deciding what to do, it is important to evaluate if it even is a crisis. Discover exactly what the person’s issue is to begin with. If they are simply a dissatisfied customer, the issue may dissolve quickly just by reaching out to them and helping to solve their problem.
3. Decide how the company should respond. Use social media to your advantage during this process. Let fans and followers know the company is aware of the issue and is being worked on. Continue to post updates regarding the issue in the same tone previously built by the company. Avoid typical “legalese” or “jargon” that could make the crisis even tougher to overcome by changing the normal tone of your social media.
4. Build a crisis team. It may be advantageous for a company to create a social media crisis team to deal with any current or future crises. Let these staff members answer complaints and manage them in a timely fashion, while handling the issue at its source. A company may need to give certain crisis team members the approval to respond to the crisis as it’s happening.
5. Create a separate place for response. This team may need to go as far as creating a separate page on a social media site that focuses only on the crisis. If this happens, it will be their job to monitor complaints and handle the answers created. Building this page may be a necessity only in certain extreme cases.
6. Take lessons from the crisis. Lastly, once the crisis is over, learn from it. Discover what could have been different and implement these changes to avoid another crisis. Learning how to respond to the next crisis makes everyone involved better equipped for it. Every crisis gives a company the opportunity to learn about how to not get into another one.
7. Respect those who helped. Thank those who were involved in solving the crisis, especially if these were fans or followers.
By following these 7 steps you will be better equipped to handle a social media crisis.
Currently, healthcare websites offer limited information to consumers, and most aren’t anywhere near the top search engine results for consumer healthcare issues. Consumers are turning to millions of other service-based sites that rank high in search engine results, such as WebMD, for healthcare information where insurance sites not only fall short- they miss the mark entirely. Even sites like WebMD are beginning to be placed in second chair to Social Networking sites. Only a few health insurance companies have recognized and acted upon this need.
As a result, health insurance websites that focus on offering information will position themselves in the marketplace as invaluable resources for consumers. As more research is done over the internet to find service, quality and cost information of doctors, hospitals and insurance plans, the healthcare industry must respond and engage those demands- or be left behind.
Companies thus far have poured resources into the bread and butter of transaction-based online tools, but have failed to serve the customer or even bring them to the table. It’s long been established that the internet is information-based, and instead of that changing as may have been predicted, it’s holding true.
Consumers want accurate information tailored to meet their questions. Fortunately, healthcare companies have access to that information- but have yet to offer it in efficient, easy-to-use tools for the web.
WebMD’s physician finder has gained amazing popularity. Priority Health also has a Find-A-Doctor tool that rates the doctors in their network. Consumers will find even greater benefits as providers offer more specific and personalized information in a similar way. It’s not just a good idea- it’s the future of healthcare companies that want to position themselves for growth.
Engaging consumers with accurate, relevant data will not only meet consumer needs to be informed, but will create an online service level of trust in companies that take the initiative to offer more than they expect, with complete accuracy.
Engaging consumers online is as simple and complex as reading their minds. Thanks to the internet, that’s easy. Search engine data like Google Analytics show just that- what healthcare consumers are searching for. Social Media search sites like Social Mention provided insight into exactly what consumers are saying across the social web. Companies’ customer service records also provide exact questions consumers ask regularly that would be more cost-effective to answer online.
Combining these questions into one data-driven search tool is the answer. Consumers will find more information in one place and have their specific questions answered, which in turn increases company trust and consumer plan satisfaction, and causes customer-service costs to fall significantly.
As consumer demand for more then just a quote from health plan websites. Health plans will come to realize the valuable of being customer centric.
As the cost of healthcare rises, many agree the focus should be centered on the cost of care. One model that is being discussed in the Medical Home Model also known as patient centered medical home model. This model rewards physician for keeping patients health and out of the hospital.
The concept of the medical home has been kicked around for over forty years. Yet, the flavor the is currently being debated requires that both patients and primary care physician educate themselves. Regarding how this program would benefit all parties involved. Technology is a primary reason that even now this model could possibly be implemented.
A key to the success of this program is keeping patients highly involved in their care. One online resource that facilities patient engagement is howsyourhealth.org. This website educates patients and allows them to fill out an online health survey that becomes a starting point for their electronic health records. The website does not look like a web 2.0 site or for that matter a professional website that you would expect to see in 2009. However, over 100,00 people have used this site to provide medical information to their doctors. 695 of the users of this website are female and 33% of the sites users are over 50 years old.
While much debate will continue around this model, patients will continue to have an active role in the management of their healthcare and the internet will become the hub for both patients and physicians to exchange information.
The customer buying cycle is made up of 6 key phases. Research > Selection> Purchase> Use> Evaluation> Recommendation
It does not matter what a customer is buying, the always g through this cycle. Understanding the customer buying cycle is critical to you success when it comes to Inbound Marketing.
It is important to understand your customer buying cycle so I created this graph to help you understand it. Regardless of the business you are in this buying pattern holds true. Your understanding this model will help you in managing the relationship that you have with your customers. Each of these phases can be performed online. Today most consumers perform at least one of these phase activities online and are increasingly moving to performing the majority of these activities online.
The cycle begins with the research phase. During the Research phase consumers endeavor to find as much information as necessary to make them feel comfortable regarding the products of interest. This phase includes understanding features, comparisons, and cost. Many times consumers search the internet by keywords looking for product explanations, reviews, and ratings to assist them in become informed.
The next phase is Selection. This is the phase in which based on the information gathered in the research phase the consumer makes a value based decision regarding which product to purchase and from what vendor. Many businesses make the mistake of assuming that the selection in cost based. However, this is completely false. Consumers make their selection based on perceived value. Customers will select a higher cost product over a less expensive product, if the perceive the value of what they are purchasing as being high. Also, factored into the selection is who they are buying it from.
The third phase is Purchase. This step can and many times is done online however; certain products consumers still and perhaps will always fell more comfortable purchasing from a brick and mortar location.
The next two steps are Use followed by Evaluation. Based on the consumers?? experience of using the product they make an evaluation. Usage involves not only the function of the product (what it does) but also experience (how it got done). Online support tools help to increase the user experience. Based on the consumer??s experience they make an evaluation of the products. A product that may not function as high as expected might still receive a high evaluation if the experience is high.
The final step is Recommendation. This is the most important phase of the lifecycle for business owners. Your products and services live and die based on recommendations. It cost more to regain a customer then it does to keep a customer. A consumer may only a few people about a positive experience but they will tell many more about the bad experiences. Now on the internet disgruntled consumers can blog your business to death.
Understanding each of phase of the customer buying cycle and putting together a strategic plan to address each of them will have a tremendous affect on your business.
Byte or get bitten!