Samantha Collier is an artist, mother, law firm business development coordinator and social media enthusiast, and a @developsocially partner.

The Experience

I recently traveled to San Francisco for a conference. The firm I work for sponsors an upscale annual dinner for approximately 180 guests. I was co-organizing the event so it was critical that everything be perfect; particularly the food, which, we all know, can make or break an event.

The dinner was a huge hit.  I’m far from a food critic but it was hands down the best food I’ve ever tasted and the service was impeccable. They exceeded every expectation I had.  I could honestly write a separate blog post about the experience, but I’ll save that for another day!

For those of you who don’t know me,  I love to shout from the rooftops about great customer service. Most rational people would go to sleep as soon as they got back to their hotel rooms at 1:30 am, but not me.  I went straight to my computer to share my experience with the world.

The Let Down

I couldn’t find any social media links on their website.  Facebook , Twitter, and Yelp turned up empty.  I sat back in my chair dumbfounded. Does this really still happen?

Interestingly, when I typed their name into Facebook I noticed 91 people have shared their link. Ninety-one happy customers took the effort to share their experience. How many more would have done so if the caterer had made it easy for them?

It made me wonder why, in this day and age, would anyone ignore the importance of their online presence?

Could it be:

  • Marketing isn’t in the budget?
  • Misconception that it takes too much time?
  • Fear of bad reviews?
  • Fear of not controlling the message?

We hear countless stories of poor customer service like this one from Mummy in Provence. I wanted to share some good news for once.

This was reminiscent of a conversation I had with a colleague recently.  He argues that a social media absence might be a good thing.  Maybe not having a presence makes you stand out from the rest.  Perhaps it makes you more exclusive, particularly if your competition has a bad rating.

The Solution

Do we still need to have this conversation? Can you really afford not to  be online?

  • Create social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Yelp
  • Monitor the online conversation. Create Google Alerts and Twitter searches for brand mentions.
  • During events provide social media information to the patrons. Make it easy for them to share their experience online.
  • Start a blog. Share recipes, pictures, kitchen tips, etc. Bring the experience home.

The solution is simple. Let of your fear. Let go of your control issues. Focus a great product and great service. Build a social media presence. Listen to what your customers are saying online and join the conversation via the relevant platforms.

Some people might say these guys are so good that they don’t need the extra boost of social media.  But my answer to that is “I guess they just don’t want more customers”.  Can you really be so good that you don’t want any more business?

And if you ever need a caterer in San Francisco make sure you contact Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. 🙂

Samantha Collier is an artist, mother, law firm business development coordinator and social media enthusiast, and a @developsocially partner.