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Customer Service Is the New Marketing: Turning Satisfaction Into Sales

This week I moderated another Social Media Today webinar as part of their Best Thinker webinar series, this time on the topic of Customer Service is the New Marketing: Turning Satisfaction Into Sales. Our panelists were: Frank Eliason, the Director of Global Social Media for Citibank; Nick Ayers, the Director of Social Marketing for Intercontinental Hotels Group; and Hansen Lieu, the Director of Product Marketing for SAP. This webinar was sponsored by SAP, who also set up a special hashtag for this event (#TSSUHeartofmktg) and a special LinkedIn group to continue this conversation in the weeks leading up to The Social Shake-Up Conference in Atlanta on September 16-17. One lucky person will have their story featured as part of the discussion in Atlanta from the submission on the LinkedIn group, so be sure to share your favorite customer service story, either good or bad.

Hansen Lieu started the webinar by setting the stage with a discussion of why customer service is the new marketing. He showed some stats that were well received on Twitter namely 8 out of 10 customers, research half of their total shopping time researching products online even before they step into a store. In fact studies have shown that when people are ready to engage a sales person, they are already 60% down the purchasing process.

Frank then responded with a historical view of how social media got involved in customer service. He cited stories from Dell and Comcast where were turning points in the connection of social media to customer service. Frank also discussed what metrics can do to your customer service which prompted some discussions on what are the right metrics to be watching. Frank has long been a thought  leader in this space and also just launched a new book called @yourservice.

Nick took over and give us an inside view of the social media team at Intercontinental Hotels Group. Nick has 3 teams in 3 different time zones covering the IHG customer 24/7/365. They also provide service in 5 different languages: English, German, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino. It was great to get an inside look into the challenges of a global “always on” social team and a glimpse at some of the ways they have been able to surprise and delight their customers.

Now, if you have ever been on a Social Media Today webinar before, you know they are very “participant-driven” and we love to ask your questions of our panelists. Many of the questions from our audience revolved around topics such as: Best practices in listening for social customer engagement? What KPIs do you use to measure customer care success? How do you prepare for the 24/7/365 nature of customer care?

If that piqued your interest, and you want to hear the replay of this webinar, please check out this link. Otherwise we hope you will join us on another Social Media Today webinar! The next webinar is on Transform Events into Meaningful Experiences: Lessons in Real-Time Marketing. Sign up for it or just view the schedule of upcoming webinars here.

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