Why you need social media customer service (Infographic)

Social media networkInfographic: Social CRM combines the power of social media with customer relationship management (CRM)

It is no surprise that social media customer service is now a very real, valid and useful communication tool. Businesses small and large alike that choose to ignore customer complaints and inquiries on Twitter, Facebook etc. are increasingly finding themselves in hot water.

Everyday social media users are increasing their usage daily making the importance of this medium that much more essential. If companies want to harvest new business they are practically required to set up a social media CRM (customer relationship management) Department.

Dennis Stoutenburgh, co-founder of Stratus Contact Solutions, a company providing one-to-one customer engagement and multi-channel solutions comments,

“If you’re not engaging customers during the entire product life cycle through social media, you’re missing out. Because someone else will.”

When it comes to any business model, no matter how generational, antiquated thinking may be a bad move when it comes to future success. This is not the time to be a technological ostrich hiding in the sand until the fad passes, this is the time to get on the bus.

The Sleeping Giant

Consumers are becoming more savvy by the second. They are what the Japanese used to call, a “sleeping giant.” When social media customer service is exchanged, in many cases, millions of eyes are could be watching.

Immediate Gratification Generation

In the old CRM model, direct communication meant maybe a phone call; being transferred to a supervisor; or calling the customer back. Now, with an immediate gratification generation poised at the ready, businesses better have an instant answer to any query. In addition, it is a generation that has been raised with everyone getting a trophy. Therefore, it is important to commend and console validating for all to witness.

Pick Your Poison

It’s important to choose the social media platform that works according to each business genre. Whether an in-house social media CRM department is set up or an outside team is used, knowing how each correspondence will be viewed is paramount. For example, if a complaint is posted on Instagram it may not create as much of a negative backlash than if it were viewed on Facebook. Each business needs to decide the level of platforms they want to concentrate on or if they want to cover a broader spectrum, which of course means more expense.

Priority and Monitoring

Response time is now a real statistic that just may determine getting a leg-up on competition. Making a query a priority on social media platforms such as Twitter lets the consumer know that you are part of their world. It is also important to continue a relationship with each social media communication by requesting to follow and especially to respond to their threads.

Once this relationship is set up, monitoring software can show specific consuming patterns for not only the business involved but other businesses as well. By following consumer’s social media path, patterns may emerge that offer advantageous purchasing information.

Maneuver, Influence and Encourage

Social media customer service has an opportunity to use these platforms to immediately connect with their customer base. Setting up fun follow programs, contests and/or free giveaways can bring an influx of new business practically overnight.

With the simplicity of not having to do more than press a virtual button, consumers can be maneuvered into getting involved; influenced by a variety of marketing techniques; and encouraged to recommend friends and family.

Service Topics and Consumer Response

As an example of how social media CRM is responded to by consumers, particular service topics show some interesting numbers (Buffer Social 2/14).

A comparison of service topic response includes three demographics:

A – Do not use social media for customer service.

B – General population

C – Use social media customer service.

 The response is as follows:

Amount of consumers willing to spend more for great service.

A. 11%

B. 13+%

C. 21+%

Amount who aborted a transaction due to poor customer service.

A. 49%

B. 55%

C. 83%

Number of people who will be told of excellent customer service.

A. 9

B. 15

C. 42

Number of people who will be told of bad customer service.

A. 17

B. 24

C. 53

When social media customer service is used and maintained correctly the potential for positive results is practically guaranteed. Embracing this new consumer tool will not only offer an opportunity to increase a bottom line, it just may bring back a “human touch” that many would have never connected to a virtual exchange.

 Continue on to the graphic below to see a more granular breakdown of platforms and user information.

Social media customer service

 

Dave Landry JrGuest Author: Dave Landry

Dave Landry jr. is a financial and marketing adviser for small enterprises. He hopes you enjoy the infographic and accompanying article, and encourages you to hone in and emphasize your social media for customer service strategies as much as possible. You can find more from Dave on Facebook.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this post. Please do leave a comment.

Social network image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.com

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Why good customer care is so important for small businesses

old vintage telephone representing customer servicesNever underestimate the value of good customer care and just how important it is to look after your customers. Poor customer service is a sure-fire way to lose a customer. Small businesses tend to have a smaller client base, therefore losing a customer can potentially have a significant impact on profitability.

70% of shoppers have stopped buying goods or services from a company after experiencing poor customer service andyhanselman.com

In order to develop and sustain a positive, long-term relationship with your customers you must ensure that your business is focused on offering a high standard of customer care. As a small online business you should be looking at your customers as your most important asset.

Take John Lewis as a renowned example of how customers are looked at as a priority. Excellent customer service is so much a part of John Lewis’s  business ethos that it is completely ingrained into their brand image. Consequently , John Lewis has an enviable  large, loyal and long-term customer base. Customer care is all about building enduring, positive relationships with your customers.

The benefits of  good customer care

81% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience andyhanselman.com

Embracing the importance of customer care brings with it a number of benefits.  For example:

  • Build loyalty and repeat custom. Offering good customer service is a key element in gaining loyalty and repeat business from your customers.
  • Lower costs and higher sales. Don’t forget it costs far more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer. In addition, an existing customer is likely to spend significantly more than a new customer “statistically speaking, the cost of acquiring a new customer costs 5-10 more than retaining an existing one. Not only that, but repeat customers spend on average, 67% more” Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • You don’t need a big budget. As you’ll see from our tips below, you don’t need a big budget to offer quality customer care.
  • Gain competitive advantage. Offering your customers a positive experience can give you an advantage by differentiating you from your competitors.
  • Win referrals. Happy customers are far more likely to recommend your business to friends and acquaintances

Tips for building positive customer relationships

Customer care is about building positive, long-term relationships by offering the best service possible to your customers. There are plenty of ways small online businesses can develop their customer service offerings.

1. Communicate with your customers regularly

Communicating regularly with your customers shows them they are valued. The interactive nature of the web lends itself brilliantly to direct engagement with customers. It is the ideal environment in which to develop customer relationships by keeping in contact with customers through social media and email.  For example, simple things like sending  customers an order confirmation and dispatch email makes a big difference to how customers view  the efficiency of your service. And, using social media platforms is a great way to keep customers informed of new developments and exciting offers, helping build interest and loyalty in your business.

2. Encourage feedback

Enabling your customers to engage in tw0-way dialogue through opportunities for customer feedback is important. Your customer feels their opinions matter and you gain valuable insight into how your product or service is viewed and how it could be improved to increase customer satisfaction.

3. Respond to all of your customers

It is important that you respond to all your customers. No matter how small or insignificant the query may seem to you – it will be important to your customer. Not being responded to is probably one of the most frustrating things a customer can experience. As a small business it is not always possible to answer a query immediately, but try to make it a priority to respond as quickly as you can. In the meantime it is a good idea to acknowledge your customers query and let them know you will get back to them as soon as possible.

4. Deal with customer complaints quickly, efficiently and pleasantly

Nobody likes dealing with negative feedback or complaints. However it’s important that you address them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Listen to your customers’ grievances and deal with them professionally. Customers will stay loyal if their complaint is dealt with satisfactorily. Indeed, it can work in your favour since  “Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4 to 6 people about their experience” .

5. Good manners cost nothing

Don’t forget whenever you are communicating with your customers to use simple, old fashioned good manners. Give your customers your full attention and don’t undervalue how a simple and genuine please and thank you can make all the difference to how a customer feels about their experience. Give your customers the service, care and attention you would expect to receive yourself and you won’t go far wrong.

6. Be consistent, make sure all team members are singing from the same song book

It is important to make sure it’s not just you engaging in a high standard of customer care. Make sure any one else responding to your customers are fully briefed and on-board with what you expect from them in terms of how they communicate with customers. Customer care must be consistent – no matter who it is from your business that is responding.

We would love to hear your own experiences and thoughts on this post, so please do leave a comment.