Social media has tipped the balance of power from corporations to consumers. We saw this in action several times last year. Customer reaction defeated a $5 debit card fee at Bank of America and a plan to split Netflix into two different services. Most recently, Verizon Wireless reversed its plan to institute a $2 fee for consumers who aren’t enrolled in an automatic payment plan, when faced with a torrent of consumer ire. From Good Business, here are some tips to help companies avoid public relations fiascoes.
"Talk to Users First"
“Why not post it on your Facebook page?” Ron Shevlin, a business analyst, suggested to The New York Times. While reaction might still be negative, you'll avoid the backlash of having to reverse a policy.
"Make a Coherent Argument"
Customers aren't likely to be reasonable about a new few if the company can't explain the cost behind it.
"Don't Use Fees as Marketing"
Sell customers on the benefit of a service rather than trying to bully them into accepting a new product.
"Don’t Go after Low-income Customers"
The Verizon fee would have mostly affected low income customers that don't regularly have enough money in their bank accounts to cover their charges automatically. The Bank of America fee would have applied to customers who didn’t meet certain balance requirements. Social media has given these customers an unprecedented voice. Even unaffected customers aren't likely to look kindly on "chiseler" fees.
View Original Article