Here at Social Media Today we are committed to bringing our readers fresh ideas from the greatest minds in Social Media. The Ask SMT series brings our influencers together to explore the questions that are on the minds of our readers.
QUESTION: How does customer service factor into your social strategy? Has it become an essential aspect of social media marketing?
"For companies doing social customer care well, the result is marketing. Brands spend millions of dollars every year in marketing and advertising, with the main goal usually being brand awareness and consideration. But those same brands are willing to let their own customers go unanswered on social media, resulting in lost brand consideration. It makes no sense. The more that companies realize that these two critical areas are inextricably linked, the more they will be able to optimize their investment dollar. The value that companies can get in terms of brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand loyalty from outstanding public customer service can far outweigh what is gained from great marketing.
If customer service is not part of your social strategy, then you probably don't understand the basics of social media. Don't forget the "social" in "social media" - this is one of the only channels where consumers have an equal voice and can "talk back" to marketing. And indeed they do; a large number of customer service inquiries come as a result of paid marketing campaigns.
As much as we don't want to admit it, most of the time consumers aren't thinking about our brand. Marketers are thinking about it all the time, but consumers have other things on their mind, like worrying about work and the kids and what they are going to make for dinner that night. The brand becomes relevant to them when they are ready for it - unless they interrupted with marketing. Then they remember that they have a problem with a brand's product or service, and that marketing post becomes the perfect forum with which to engage the brand.
Marketing and customer service should work hand-in-hand in social strategy to leverage the uniqueness of the channel and capitalize on opportunities to engage with consumers."
- Dan Gingiss, Host of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast and author of the upcoming book, Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media
"For me, customer service should be included as part of your marketing strategy. The quality (or lack) of your customer service is essential to repeat business and referrals amongst peers. With the growth of customer service inquiries coming through social media as opposed to alternative channels, this is increasingly important for the marketing strategy of any business and the nature of the public appeal that comes with it on social. Invest in the time needed to respond to customer service inquiries in REAL TIME."
- Chris Kyriacou, Managing Director, iSocial UK
"Our customer service policy has always been to employ a 'yes' approach. Rather than say 'no,' we find as many ways as possible to cater to the needs of a customer. We employ the same approach to social media that we do offline. We encourage customers to become fans of our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages and reach out to us there in addition to calling and emailing if they have any questions. Our social media department makes sure there is someone always available to promptly respond back to fans with a can-do attitude to fulfill their needs and follow up when necessary. Whether it occurs in real life or online, a positive customer experience is a win-win for the customer and the business. Being present and listening, then helping out as needed, allows us to learn about a customer's needs and how to anticipate and address them as much as possible."
- Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation
"I've been living in the B2B services world most of my career so customer service via social media isn't a huge factor. That said, we've always been proactive with our social media listening. While we haven't had but a few pop up over the years we would have never known if we didn't listen and monitor social media on a daily basis."
- Chad Pollitt, VP of Audience, Relevance
"We feel all our clients need to have support available through social media. This usually includes a twitter account (either primary or support specific) that is advertised and monitored for support questions, as well as a tab on a Facebook page. We see that as an expectation from customers at this point so it's a must have. This impacts marketing in a few ways. First, If you have separate social channel for support, that becomes a space where content can be shared. This may bring more visibility to your content. The bigger marketing opportunity is that support successes can yield testimonials, or even case studies which can supply great customer evidence that your brand backs it's products and services, cares about it's customers can goes that extra mile. That customer evidence can be shared on the brand's website and other social channels."
- Bob Carver, Principal Consultant, Carver Technology Consulting LLC
How does customer service factor into your social media strategy? Be sure to join us tomorrow at 12:00pm ET for our February #SMTLive twitter chat with special guest host Dan Gingiss where we will be continuing to discuss Social Customer Service. Click here for more details and we hope to see you there.