About the guest writer:
“Valerie is a senior marketing executive for a restaurant company with over 20 branches around Malaysia. She specializes in customer relationship management and social media. This includes everything concerning the restaurant’s loyalty card, customer feedback, Facebook and Twitter.”
When it comes down to people relationships, the core, the challenge and the reward are the people themselves. In the restaurant scenario, a PR person will have contact with colleagues, suppliers, media, and most importantly, customers. While I seldom do ‘face to face’ with the customers, I have daily exposures to them through a modern method of communication: Social Media. That includes e-mails, Facebook (FB) and Twitter.
The biggest challenge of written communication is the risk of being misinterpreted, as customers come from all walks of life. What is more dangerous is, whatever that is said online can easily be shared with other people such as the Paradigm incident.
If a customer were to start shouting in a restaurant to vent his frustration, at the very most, the room of 30 odd people will know that he is upset. However, if that complaint is made online, the number of “other people” can easily escalate to thousands within mere minutes.
Speaking about minutes, the younger generation nowadays lives in a much faster pace of life and a rather nocturnal one too. There was one customer who wrote a complaint through e-mail at 1am and then complained on FB the next day at 9am that nobody responded to him. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to laugh or be upset at his second complaint. After all, we are a restaurant and not a 24-hour emergency hotline.
Another annoying case was when this customer complained through e-mail in font size 40. I actually typed the reply in font size 40 as well. But just before hitting the send button, I regained my senses and changed it back to the regular size. Dealing with people online is the same as offline; never respond in anger. 😀
Despite the many difficult customers, there are also genuinely nice people who make my day. These are the people who realize that it is a human being on the other side of the screen with feelings too. One such person was a lady who asked for help through Facebook regarding her membership card. The first question and answer was at 6pm and she had another question at 9pm. Coincidentally, I was working late that day so I replied to her 9pm query. Her reaction was “Eh go home la, can reply queries tomorrow! Work never end one. Have a good rest! And thank you for your help!!!”. At the end of a long day at work, having a random stranger care for you is a lovely feeling.
In short, any career that involves a lot of other people is fun, thrilling, occasionally nerve wrecking and also heart warming. Every day is a different experience and it never gets boring. Very important for a person with rather short interest span. ^^
Like Valerie, I too, have similar experiences with my readers online. In blogging, I’ve encountered a number of haters. But I choose to not allow these hateful comments get to me and focus on the other readers (yes you!) who have been encouraging and supportive to my blog throughout these years.
When I was robbed, a reader came up to rif and I in Bangsar Village to express his concern about what happened. Some emailed me to tell me how sorry they are about the incident. I also have readers who emailed to thank me for recommending places to eat, wedding tips, beauty tips as well as travel tips.
It does feel nice to be appreciated.
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