We’ve heard about many social media snafus as of late, so I thought I’d write about a positive social media case study, to lighten the mood a bit. And since we’re embarking on tax season, I thought I’d highlight H&R Block. For the past several years, H&R Block has been at the forefront of successful management of their social media campaigns. This is especially important given the nature of their business and the high frustration level most people feel when doing their taxes. H&R Block has certainly received their fair share of grief from customers around tax season. But they’ve taken it in stride and built a very robust social media campaign to communicate with their customers – the happy ones and the not so happy ones.
With a full-time team of five, the social media staff spends all day online reading tweets, Facebook posts, blog comments and foursquare check-ins. Because of the urgent and sometimes desperate nature of people when they’re doing their taxes, the H&R Block social media team prides themselves on urgent and timely responses.
If you check out their Twitter feed, you will see that they are actually responding to people in real time. In some cases they literally know which H&R Block location someone is tweeting from because they have also checked in on foursquare.
They also have a very active blog and Facebook page because they get that people should be communicated with on their channel of choice. And it’s worth mentioning that they have over 83,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook. Not to shabby for a tax preparation service.
According to Zena Weist, Director of Social Media at H&R Block, the goal with people who are using social media to complain is to take them offline with a customer service representative. Once this happens, most people’s issues are addressed, and a majority go back online to express their gratitude.
The social media savvy of the folks at H&R Block is worth emulating for a few reasons. Not only are they extremely responsive and on top of all channels, but they also know how best to respond. First, they show empathy. You’ll notice in many of the responses on Twitter, they first acknowledge that something is “unacceptable” or express that they are “sorry you feel that way.” Second, they provide a solution. Sometimes it’s a number to call, sometimes it’s a request for more information about which location they are in or specific person they’re working with. The idea is that they are going to do something to solve the issue. Lastly, they work to transform a bad experience into a good one because they know that good experiences typically result in referrals, which is just about the best thing you can ask from your customers.
It’s also worth noting that not only are they problem solving in the moment, but they’re also using Twitter as an early alarm system. If more than a few people are having the same issue, they make a change before it becomes a bigger problem.
Despite the fact that no one like doing their taxes, those of us in the social media trenches can at least admire this aspect of the season, thanks to H&R Block.