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Louise Mensch's appearance on BBC Breakfast this morning has confirmed to me the importance of social media for businesses. The Tory MP was there to discuss her issues with Argos, which she had already voiced to over 40,000 of her followers on Twitter. Mensch was frustrated after waiting in on a Saturday for an Argos delivery to arrive, only to have it cancelled without any notification. She told buyers to "beware" before quoting an unhelpful response from the retailer that stated that they were within their rights to cancel without contacting the customer.
Now, perhaps it isn't the end of the world that Mensch wasn't delivered her goods on time, but surely this could have been disastrous for Argos? The complaint sparked a flurry of debate on Twitter, which saw other users sharing similar tales of anger and frustration. This led to Mensch's appearance on the BBC show, where she was interviewed alongside a Trading Standards official. Unsurprisingly, this was not good news for Argos; negative comments from a high profile, outspoken MP is really not the sort of PR any business wants.
Cleverly, though, Argos managed to turn the situation around and save its reputation from total ruin. To counter its initial impersonal response, Argos used its 'Argos Helpers' Twitter account to apologise and asked for the chance to resolve the situation. Mensch then responded by publicly asking the retailer to change its policy to improve customer service, a request which Argos has openly agreed to.
The result? Argos is back in pole position. It has used Social Media to combat bad press and consequently they now appear to be a business that cares about its customers. Louise Mensch soon changed her tune and even said that "Argos really deserves praise for agreeing to change their policy".
The story serves as a lesson for all businesses that wish to protect their reputation and provide the very best customer service. This could have been very damaging for Argos, but instead its Social Media campaign has been successful enough to offer a positive resolution.
Social Media is about being a part of an online conversation and if someone is talking about your business, then doesn't it make sense to be able to respond? After all, you never know who your next customer will be.