Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Can you opt out of Social Media?

You may have seen my recent Twitter post about the Atholl Hotel in Aberdeen not allowing us to plug in a laptop - we were asked not to use their electricity. There were many comments and retweets about this; one Twitter user even recalled a food poisoning scare from last year at the same hotel - not something they would have wanted to re-kindle I'm sure.

This was a good example of how businesses will end up on social media whether they like it or not. People can update their status anytime, anywhere. So, people involved in customer service should be particularly mindful that a bad customer experience will be transmitted around the world instantly. Just the other day a friend of mine, John McGlynn of the Airlink Group posted about a bad experience he was having with EasyJet, I knew all about it, while it was happening. To be fair to EasyJet, they do monitor Twitter posts and I know that Iain Murray of ChardFM received a voucher because he did defend EasyJet in a Twitter post.

The Atholl Hotel incident was closely followed (the next day) by a similar set of circumstances in Simpson's Hotel in Aberdeen - we needed to charge our laptops whilst having a meeting and coffees in their lounge area, they were happy to let us do it - and their coffee was better and cheaper!

The whole incident reminded me of a blog post I read back in February this year from Chris Brogan about the Roger Smith Hotel in New York who actively promote their understanding and commitment to new media by encouraging users to have their meetings in the hotel. Now it's the place that most new media people (and I suspect many from traditional media) choose to stay in New York City, the Atholl Hotel could do with taking a leaf out of their book.

The point is, you can't opt out of social media, everyone is now connected and bad customer experiences will be reported. Understanding and embracing social media is the way forward, connect and engage with your customers, watch what their saying about you and act accordingly.


  1. You can hear the sceptics....

    Q: "But what if they say terrible things about our company/service/brand"?

    A: "Then you should be delighted that you have something to fix and improve on!"

    I hope you left a comment on Trip Advisor about the Atholl Hotel :)

  2. Scott

    I completely agree and the hard fact is, people can say terrible things anyway whether you are on social media or not. I have reported my feelings about the Atholl Hotel on my blog because the Atholl Hotel doesn't appear to have one. If they had a blog and I had posted it there, they would be a lot more in control of what's being said than they are right now.

    I fully believe not engaging with your community/customers/clients is more irresponsible than providing a space where they can leave comments - good or bad. I realise this involves a fundamental shift in attitude for most organisations but, we are dealing with the most disruptive technology since the printing press - then we had the "power of the press", now we have the power of the people!

    And, as you alluded, why wouldn't you want to know that your company/service/brand was coming up short in a particular area?

    Thank you for the comment and, I will get on the case with Trip Advisor


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