It's not only possible to provide B2B customer service in social media, it's possible to do it creatively with a "wow" experience. That's the goal of Nextiva, a cloud communications company that provides more than 100,000 small and large businesses with cloud-based telephone systems.
"We felt there was an opportunity to disrupt that market," says Vice President of Marketing Yaniv Masjedi, citing the telecommunications market's reputation for "bad customer experience".
Masjedi attempts to respond to all customer inquiries with personalized videos featuring any one of the company's 500 employees.
"If you tweet at Nextiva, or post a Facebook post on our Facebook page, you'll more than likely get a response via video rather than text," he says. "The main idea behind that is: video builds bonds."
The Social Care team started by shooting video with smartphones, but has advanced to having two full-time video producers on staff and much better equipment. What hasn't changed is the genuine human connection that is established between customers and real Nextiva employees. "We don't have people at Nextiva who went to film school and are great in front of the camera, but the more you do it, you get comfortable with it," Masjedi says.
Video responses are shared publicly and posted on the company's YouTube page, Nextiva Cares. Despite that, every question receives a personalized answer, even if it's a repeat. "We'll make a new one, even if it's something repetitive, just because it's the first time YOU are asking," Masjedi says. "We try to get a video out as soon as possible, build a bond, and bring a smile to someone's face." In one case, for a recording studio client, Nextiva answered with a personalized freestyle rap.
How do customers respond?
"The response is always awesome," he says. "The loyalty, the impact that you are creating with your brand and that individual, that potential or existing customer, is tremendous." Some customers even reply back with their own videos.
Don't forget, this is a B2B company. It's not the end user that is asking questions, it's a representative from the corporate client. "At the end of the day, while it is B2B, they're still people," says Masjedi. "However customers want customer service or want to speak to you, you have to be there."
Masjedi was kind enough to join us for a live Blab interview, which was turned into Episode 29 of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast.
Here are some of the notable moments in the episode and where to find them:
0:55 What is Nextiva?
1:22 Yaniv's background and how he ended up working at Nextiva
2:40 The Social Care philosophy at Nextiva, which includes video responses vs. text
7:05 The approach to B2B customer service
11:13 what's the process for social listening and responding via video?
12:27 Which social media channels does Nextiva operate in?
14:07 The economics of responding to everyone with video
17:49 The game plan for scaling social care
19:40 Yaniv shares some memorable customer interactions
21:45 What has Yaniv learned during his time managing social care at Nextiva?
Nextiva was nominated for the podcast by Micah Solomon, a customer service expert and frequent contributor to Forbes.com. If you have had a great customer service experience on social media, please let us know which brand provided it by using our hashtag, #FOCS, on Twitter.