Last month, Papa John’s, one of America’s most well-known pizza chains, got themselves stuck with a $250 million class action lawsuit for spamming their customers with mass text messages that advertised pizza specials.
Customers were angered after receiving a blast of up to 16 unwanted text messages in the middle of the night as part of a direct marketing campaign gone wrong. When the issue escalated, Papa John’s corporate management defended itself by offloading responsibility for the mishap and blaming a third party provider for the mass text message inconvenience.
Whether you are the owner of a five star restaurant, a small drugstore, or a manager of a nation-wide chain, communicating effectively with your customers has never been more important. Today, there are countless options and strategies for how to best communicate with your customers spanning from direct channels such as text/email campaigns to the rapidly evolving social media space. With the plethora of channels out there, businesses must rely on 3rd party providers to effectively communicate with customers.
However, when things go awry, not accepting responsibility and blaming the third party is not the answer. As Papa John’s found out, they bear responsibility in the court of public opinion for any mistakes made by them or their vendors.
Businesses must rely on 3rd party providers to communicate with customers, and mistakes are bound to happen at some point. While it’s unlikely for most small businesses out there to encounter thousands of unhappy customers at once (not to mention a $250 million lawsuit), small businesses know that losing even one customer is a shame. It’s tough enough to get a customer to come in the door the first time and give you a chance. It’s even harder to get them back if they are unhappy.
So what are effective communication strategies for communicating with customers?
If Papa John’s offered an open form of communication, allowing more customers to reach out to them in the earlier stages of the failed marketing campaign, the situation could have been resolved sooner. With monitoring and escalation tracking offered by OwnerListens, Papa John’s managers and executive would have been quickly notified of a rapid and sudden growth in negative customer feedback.
The idea is simple: when something goes wrong, or when your customers simply have something to say, it’s absolutely imperative that they know they can come to you directly. It is your responsibility to make that communication as easy as possible. In this day and age, no one wants to look up an email, wait on the phone or fill out a contact page. Either give customers a fast alternative or they will go directly to Twitter, Facebook or Yelp to share their grievances.
By providing an open 2-way communication channel between owners/managers and consumers, OwnerListens focuses on localizing every business, and providing a resourceful channel for business owners to communicate effectively with their customers in both positive and negative situations. (Check out our blog post on how to respond to negative feedback).
Our simple solution helps any business address situations in real-time, avoid harmful negative reviews, increase customer loyalty, and help collect valuable feedback to improve your business. Check out this Case Study on Oren’s Hummus Shop.
Adopting an open communication strategy with your customers is only a few clicks away… It’s also free so sign up now if you haven’t already done so.