Gone With the Wind and Customer Service

Written by on June 2, 2016

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Gone With the Wind is a classic tale about relationships. The ones we want, the ones we think we want, and the ones we deserve. Social media is also about relationships, especially between brands and Customers. Sometimes those relationships are deeply fulfilling for everyone involved. Sometimes they just don’t work out. Even though Gone With the Wind was released in 1939, long before social media or even the Internet, there are some great lessons we can apply to the social landscape of today.

Rhett Butler: No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.

This is the epitome of how a strong brand should allow their employees to react to a tough situation. It’s about understanding the product or service you’re providing and understanding if it really suits your Customer. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you might not be a good fit for each other. This may sound like the opposite of good business, but it’s one of the best ways to win the relationship for life. If your product is truly class-leading, the Customer you refer to your competitor in a positive way will be more willing to stay with you for life because they know you really have their best interests at heart.

Scarlett: I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.

The best employees you’ve ever hired have felt like this at one time or another during their career. They care so deeply about the product and the brand that they actually hurt when they can’t provide winning service to your Customers.

The feeling also encapsulates one of the toughest skills to learn as a Customer service professional: having a short memory for the lost ones. It doesn’t matter if your professional is a part of your social media team or a traditional channel team; they have to learn to not take engagements so hard that it bleeds over into the next customer interaction. As leaders we have to be on the lookout for when this happens and help the team member through the difficult feelings and get them back in the right mood for continued success.

Rhett Butler: With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.

More companies need to learn about this quote as it relates to social media Customer service! Everyone, everywhere, starts their journey without a reputation online at some point. It could be that your brand hasn’t crossed the line into social media or from social media marketing to social media Customer service.

Have the courage to take the first step. Your Customers are talking about you, whether you are there engaging with them or not. Perhaps it’s time to take your offline reputation for strong quality and share it online. You won’t know how well you will be received until you have the courage to try.

Scarlett: Oh! You sir, are no gentleman.
Rhett Butler: And you, miss, are no lady.

Of all the lessons Rhett and Scarlett can teach us about social media Customer service, none of them are more clear about how not to treat your Customers. While it’s never a good idea to get into a shouting match with a Customer, there is no worse place to do so than in social media!

Unlike phone conversations which are one-to-one (unless they are recorded and shared online), social media conversations happen in plain view of the public. In today’s connected and viral world of online communication, negative actions are often shared more readily than positive ones and they take much longer to recover from. It is OK to disagree with a Customer, but do so in a tactful way that doesn’t lead to name calling or insults. No one wins when that happens.

Scarlett: Rhett, Rhett… Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?
Rhett Butler: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

The majority of our Gone With the Wind lessons have been from the brand side of the conversation. Let’s take everyone’s favorite quote and turn it around.

This is what you can expect to hear from your Customer when they have reached their limits. If you don’t value your relationship with your Customers and mistreat (from their perspective) them time and time again they will eventually leave and stop advocating for your success. When this happens on social media you can rest assured they will go out of their way to express their displeasure with you for the moment and all the moments to come.

As you can see, relationships are complicated. When you want to grow your brand you often want to please everyone. Sometimes it’s best to recognize the relationship just isn’t going to work out the way it should. The end doesn’t have to be messy or mean spirited. Often times if it’s not, there’s a good chance the romance might be rekindled and made deeper. Just remember to be honest and kind and there’s always hope.

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