Social Media As Customer Hotline

August 8th, 2013 by Erica

Emergency phone iconB2B and B2C marketers know the impact social media platforms have to bolster their campaigns, disseminate brand message, raise awareness and increase customer engagement. Social media has given a powerful voice and ample leverage to the customer. Savvy marketers are leaning in to maximize the engagement and grow, and keep, loyal customers.

A recent study by Simply Measured, found that 99% of brands are on Twitter and 30% have a dedicated customer service handle. This is great news!

As more people turn to their smartphones and computers to tell the world how they feel about a brand – the good and the bad – there has never been a more important time for companies to be present on social media to listen to, and engage, their customers. The survey indicated that for those companies that are on Twitter, most have room to improve their responsiveness and engagement with customers: 10% respond to a customer tweet within an hour, and 93% answered within 48 hours. The average was a 5.1-hour lag-time.

Whether your company has a dedicated customer service-oriented Twitter/Facebook resource, or uses the company’s corporate account, here are a few things to consider that can bring you closer to your customers, and vice versa:

  1. Respond in times of crisis. If your company/product/service is experiencing a significant problem that impacts your customers, consider the simple and scalable opportunity social media provides to update your customers on the issue; assure them that it’s being resolved; and instruct them on how you are accommodating customers in the meantime. While major crisis situations may not allow for individual responses, there is still benefit in providing real-time, broadcast updates via social media.
  2. Listen, learn and implement customer feedback. By actively listening to customers on social media platforms, smart marketers can get a sense for which company/product/service messages, features, campaigns are resonating, or not, and make adjustments – large and small. Actively respond to customers so they know you’re listening, and express sincere appreciation for feedback and remain humble at all times—never defensive. Most people are acutely aware of spin.
  3. Respond quickly – within an hour. Have a dedicated resource to monitor and respond to customer tweets, posts and comments, ideally within an hour of posting. This can help your company demonstrate, through its actions, a true dedication to customer service.
  4. Close the loop. To truly maximize the ROI of social media listening, nurturing and engagement, connect your social media team with customer support, the product/service development team and marketing. Run periodic analyses of your social media activities – what are customers saying, who are they, is their feedback changing over time and in what way? This ensures everyone is in the loop and the company can continue to evolve its products/services and related messages to meet customer need/demand.

Having a company presence on social media doesn’t have to take a million hours to maintain; be smart about the resources you have available and do what you can to nurture your customers, so many of whom spend significant time on social media. The payoff could be building a more loyal, vocal customer base.

Emergency Phone designed by Kenneth Appiah from The Noun Project

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