After reading an article about some of the difficulties of communicating with an always connected customer base, it got me thinking about some of the benefits of communicating with the always connected customer, in particular real-time outreach.
Social media delivers unprecedented customer relationship management opportunities and unlike a support forum, email or ticket system, it allows you to deal with customer service issues in real-time, as they arise. It makes sense then to ensure you are keeping a watchful eye on your Facebook wall, Twitter feed, etc.
A customer may post on Facebook or Twitter with a comment, question or even a complaint. A company who can respond quickly with a helpful comment or provide relevant, timely information elevates themselves head and shoulders above the competition.
However, according to emarketer.com, an average of just 49% of companies (B2C and B2B) track and respond to social media brand mentions.
You wouldn't ignore customer service phone calls, pre-sales calls, complaint letters, forum posts or support tickets, so why ignore customers when they communicate for the same reasons with you via social media?
The real benefit in monitoring and responding comes from the fact that not only does the individual perceive you as being responsive and helpful, so do all the other followers/fans/subscribers who have been exposed to the exchange.
BENEFITS OF REAL-TIME SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSE
- Perceived as helpful, aiding positive brand perception
- Demonstrates high levels of customer service which drives trust in your brand
- Customers are always connected, and expect your business to be always connected too
- Ability to deal with any potential problems quickly and effectively as they arise
- Real-time responses to pre-sale queries can positively influence sales as a direct result
Investing resources into responding real-time to individual customers can seem daunting. Some businesses may feel that giving individuals this sort of attention, outside of their usual tried and tested customer service channels can't possibly be cost effective.
Responding to individuals via social media may feel like it is a one-to-one activity, but remember, the way you deal with individuals is highly public and will be witnessed by many, so you benefit from far greater reach. Demonstrating excellent individual customer service via social media, is one of the smartest things a company can do.