I’m always interested to see how different organizations use social media. It’s fun to look at the different ideas, communication styles, messaging and strategies employed by companies of all sizes. I often get some of my best ideas from watching what others do. It’s very evident that more and more companies are taking social seriously and the overall level of competency is on the rise. Unfortunately there are still many organizations that need to fine tune their approach. Today we have a look at one such company… Swiss Chalet.
Let me start by saying that I’m a huge fan of Swiss Chalet. I find their food quality and service to be better than many restaurants and their Chicken on a Kaiser is one of my favourites. I applaud them for embracing social media as a customer relations tool. I also applaud them for the work they’ve done on their Facebook page. The page is very active and can sometimes get a tad hostile with customer and even staff complaints. The social media team responds to almost every comment and it’s evident that they monitor the page closely.
The Swiss Chalet Twitter account (@MySwissChalet) is a bit different. I can see what they’re trying to do but I think they could do a lot more. There are a few glaring issues that I see. Let’s have a look…
Redundant Messaging – A quick glance at the account and you’ll see what I mean. 14 of the last 20 Tweets are almost identical… “Sorry for the bad service/food. Click this link and fill out this form and tell us how we screwed up”. I understand that they’re using Twitter to aid customer relations but is there nothing else to talk about? I did a search for “Swiss Chalet” and found lots of positive comments. Why not share some of those?
Anyone that takes the time to mention your brand on a platform like Twitter is a potential brand advocate. Savvy companies use social media to massage relationships with these individuals. Find the people that like your brand, reward and acknowledge them, thank them and keep them talking. Make it your goal to have these advocates do a lot of the heavy lifting for you… because they will if they like you…
Not Following Anyone – Social media is a two way street. Keeping the social traffic flowing both ways is a lot easier when you’re following people. It’s very obvious that the folks at Swiss Chalet use the Twitter search feature. It looks like they seek out those people talking about their brand and then jump into the conversation. Taking the time to follow those people talking about your brand is a good way to further connect. By following the person, you’re letting them know that you care about what they’re taking about and you want to stay in touch. You don’t have to follow everyone but be sure you keep your influencers (both good and bad) a bit closer.
Add Some Personality – Most of the outgoing messages on this account seem “canned”. Adding some personality brings a human side to your brand. Show people that you care and make them want to interact with you. People want to talk to other people… not robots.
Add Some Flair – This profile is in need of some fun. Have a contest. Ask questions. Share some pictures. Make a short video on how you cook a chicken. Give us something. Contests seem to be the almighty fallback when talking about adding some “fun” to a profile but some creative content will work just as well. It’s clear that the folks at Swiss Chalet are putting some time into their social media. Take some of that time and create some unique and engaging content. Need some ideas? Check out this Wheel of Fortune game we play on the Fort Edmonton Park Facebook page or the puzzle that we did for Tourism Red Deer. Both of these are inexpensive and engaging.
Show Us Results – You’ll see that Swiss Chalet funnels all of their questions and complaints back to a contact form on their website. It would be interesting if they followed some of these comments and complaints up on social media. I’d love to see a post like, “Joe B. contacted us after he had a bad experience at our North Edmonton location. Here’s what we did to make it right – (Link to video)”. I’m assuming the people that take the time to fill out the contact form get some sort of response. It would be fun to see some of those responses and results.
Despite some of these flaws, Swiss Chalet is still well ahead of many restaurants when it comes to social media. I applaud them to taking the time to get involved but there’s so much more they can do to enhance the experience. One thing to keep in mind – many of the negative comments are in regards to poor food or service. The company should probably investigate these issues and aim to correct them. If you food is bad, fix it. If your service is poor, fix it. No amount of social media can mask a bad product or service.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to get a Festive Special…