Customer service is a marketing stream not enough businesses consider within their social media marketing plan and strategies. In March SmartCompany rang for a quote on my thoughts for their article “Twitter turns eight – but what impact has it made on business?”. Essentially, I believe Twitter has changed business, alongside other Social Media platforms, in the way it connects businesses with their customers. Like never before can a customer or prospect ask for help, complain of their disappointment or say thank you, and at any time, in any place. Social Media can be used for a wide variety of objectives (a topic I will write on soon) but one thing I always implore businesses to understand when starting their online marketing journey is to remember you are dealing with real people. It is vital you treat comments and engagement just as you would if you were face-face.
Would you ever walk away from someone talking to you onsite? Or hang-up on someone calling to say thank you?
Telecommunication companies have understood the benefits of social media as a customer service marketing strategy for many years. While other industries were avoiding social media, too scared of receiving negative feedback, telecommunications understood people will talk negatively online whether you’re present or not. For years I’ve been telling people having phone or internet issues: “Tweet a message with (insert telecom business name)”. They always reply, and quickly, to all mentions and you get issues solved. I always get surprised reactions when people have had their problems solved from their initial tweet.
But if you want a case study of a business that uses Social Media customer service as a marketing strategy, look no further than US online shoe retailer Zappos’ service Twitter account.
There have been webinars, books and articles written on how Zappos understand the importance of superior customer service to eliminate barriers of purchasing online. And, boy, do they nail it. They have a dedicated online Twitter customer service team who introduce themselves at the beginning of their shift, say goodbye, and engage with all communications. They show respect to their customers with a personalised approach and appear to love what they are doing – helping customers.
So what does this all mean for you and your business? You need to understand social media is more than “fluff”; realise your customer are more and more going online as a means to get value and service from businesses.
Remember that how you deal with your customers, prospects and fans online reflects on you, your business and your brand. How you make people feel is imperative to your success. Ask yourself: Do you make all people feel value? Could you be making some people feel unimportant? And while most small businesses don’t have the resources to spend all day monitoring social media interaction, there is an opportunity to get ahead of your competitors if you do engage and answer customers’ enquiries online. Consider adding social media into your customer service contact streams – you may be surprised how many customers will value this extra level of service.