Automated Responses Not the Best Way to Prove You’re Social

by John Peterson on August 9, 2013

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Companies today can really ramp up their customer service satisfaction and show that they listen by rolling out a comprehensive social media plan. Just responding to complaints is sometimes enough to turn an angry customer around.

Domino’s Pizza has already had a highly publicized social media crisis, but since then the company has stepped up its social media presence and monitoring to manage future issues. Domino’s Pizza has even been commended for listening to their customers and starting from scratch at making the entire franchise a better experience for customers.

They even patted their own backs a little bit:

Domino's Pizza

They might be a little too used to facing their critics now, though.  On their Facebook page, it looks like they’re having trouble recognizing compliments. Here’s a message that was left on Domino’s Pizza’s Facebook wall during the late Tuesday night. Take a look at how Domino’s responds:

Domino's Pizza Facebook

Now, I’m not sure if my sarcasm detector just isn’t working today or if Domino’s social media team is just way out of my league at picking up on it, but that looks like a silly response to a positive post. She even left a smiley face! I’ll admit, the pizza in the photo looks like it has seen better days, but nothing in the context of her message should have triggered Domino’s to think that there was a problem that needed to be resolved.

This strange reply didn’t go unnoticed by other users. Evan Danielson decides to point out their mishap, which prompts a Domino’s response.

Domino's Pizza Facebook

Is this an automated response? It may be. If it is, it’s definitely not the best way to prove you are a social company. People don’t like canned messages and when something like this happens, it’s more cause for ridicule.

It reminds me of the Bank of America Twitter automated reply that responded to protesters as if they were customers with a BoA account. It’s hard to be ready to “help, listen, and learn” when you can’t even determine what the person online is complaining about.

I understand that social media programs must be scaled, but before any company jumps into social media customer service, its important to make sure that you set an expectation that is realistic and can be met. Taking them offline is a good idea, and so is giving each complaint a case number so it can be tracked.

But since social media customer service is designed to illustrate how much your company is listening to customers, having an automated response isn’t really the best way to prove that.

UPDATE: Digiday has spoken with Domino’s and discovered that unlike Bank of America, this wasn’t a bot or automated response, but rather a real person.

 “We are proud to have real human beings right here in our Ann Arbor headquarters reading and responding to posts,” explained Domino’s spokesperson Chris Brandon. “Real human beings make real human mistakes sometimes, and this was one of those times. It was an isolated situation in which one of our people simply goofed up. It happens. We were all, naturally, a little bit red-faced by this – but we’ve already moved on.”  – Digiday

Images: Domino’s Pizza Facebook, Truth Frequency Radio

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