Photo by LawGeek
Well, actually no.
Social media is here and it’s changing the way we do things on a daily basis.
But if Twitter, Facebook, Plurk and all those other social networking sites mushrooming up every nanosecond or so have that much power in the real world…
We should all be running screaming in fear away from our laptops, computers and iPhones, right?
You see, the social media world is going strong, and the best way for you to ride the tide is to get with the times and hop on a surf board.
There are a hundred dozen different ways for you to do this (OK, I may be exaggerating a bit, you can sue me later.)
Just to name a few, social media is useful for branding, marketing, networking, friend-making, task managing, party organizing… and more recently, customer service.
Say what? Customer service?
I know what you’re thinking! You’re thinking “no way… I can do all that crap with social media”?
Yes way! I wouldn’t steer you wrong friend.
Girl Scout’s honor. (OK, chick’s honor since I’m not really a Girl Scout. See? Honesty already at work!)
And the rest of the world is shouting out: “Yes way too!”
So what makes social media so special exactly?
It’s actually pretty simple. With social media, you get to reach your customers individually, get to hear exactly what they want, and deliver on their needs or solve their problems in just a few mouse clicks and keyboard taps. In real time!
Social media can do what your phone (even with a 24/7 customer support hotline) can’t do—help you keep your finger on the pulse of your market’s wants and even complaints, as well as provide an excellent service experience and make your customers or clients feel like you are catering to THEM and ONLY them.
Social media gives a whole new dimension to the term “personalized” services.
You have to remember that the general marketplace is filled with just about every product and service you can think of in just about every price range, size, location, variety and what have you.
Consumers also have the power to check out what’s available before they go ahead and shell out their hard-earned money for it… making it imperative that YOUR service or product is one of the best available in every aspect you can in order for it to really stand out.
To that end, entrepreneurs have to be as transparent and as competitive in the value delivering department as possible in order to attract the greatest number of consumers in the market. Great customer service = great customer experience = GREAT VALUE.
We’ve always known that poor customer service is one of the critical warning signs that a company just isn’t doing its job well. At least from a buyer standpoint.
You can have great R and D, the most efficient production line possible, dedicated and talented workers, and lots of capital on your side, but if you can’t handle your customers well, you can say goodbye to entrepreneurial success. And “So long freedom!” with it.
Customers are way more likely to go with a brand that costs a bit more but provides excellent customer service than one that is cheaper but not so wonderful to relate with. That’s really the secret behind every successful company—great lasting relationships with its customers.
If a buyer feels good not just about the product or service they paid for with you, but also about the whole experience of doing so, you can bet your bottom dollar that they’ll be back the next week asking for more… whatever more is.
And then they’ll be back again the week after that, and the next and the next. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a pretty sweet way to do business to me!
Superior customer experience is like magic—you will gain new customers as well as keep old ones who are supremely satisfied with your service. Not only that, but having a happy bunch of well-served customers is the best kind of marketing out there… you keep them happy, they tell other people all about you. Word of mouth is powerful!
The more positive feedback you get, the more likely your chances are of becoming successful and grabbing a bigger share of the market. Hello entrepreneurial freedom!
And that’s really just where social media comes in and shines like a girl’s best friend—word-of-mouth is so much easier to spread online because it is instantly available to anyone from anywhere in seconds.
People start doing the talking for you—how fantastic your products are, how well you took care of your customers, why they love coming back to you for everything related to “X”.
Some of the biggest and most successful brands in the corporate world today know the value of a good brand name and the customer service muscle to back it up.
That’s why they don’t treat their customer service department as a mere add-on to their whole organizational structure—it’s an essential component around which their operations, activities and strategies are built.
Dell, LL Bean and Zappos are just three of the brands most renowned for their amazing customer service.
Customer service is part and parcel of their work philosophy, and nobody can say that they made a wrong decision somewhere down the road by jumping on the social media bandwagon because quite simply… their tactics worked.
Focusing on the customer helps entrepreneurs to design their operations in such a way that what the customer wants, the customer gets (at least most of the time).
You see, customer service goes beyond making people feel good about their purchases. It’s about building partnerships and making real connections. It’s about creating good experiences with your clients.
You can’t get that feeling of personalized, individualized response over a toll-free hotline with automated prompts, but you sure can inject some warmth and care into your tweets and Facebook status.
Well… OK, at least MOST of you can.
The rest of you… try a little harder, and you’ll get there!
4 quick tips on using social media to monitor your brand and deliver excellent customer service.
- Embrace Twitter. Create an account for your biz and begin a love affair with the bird.
- Check out this handy marketing guide… might find it useful.
- You can also try creating a Tweet Beep account. Configure it to monitor words like… oh I don’t know… your company name… your personal name… and any specific terminology related to your business. See what pops up!
- Then take your newly informed self to your Twitter account, and respond appropriately to each little mention of you, your product, and/or your services. Easy enough?
To top it off, most social media platforms are FREE, which means that you get to reduce your overhead costs while at the same time improving your customer reach.
I mean seriously, you can do some major damage (GOOD damage that is) without spending a dime in overhead if you choose to… simply by basing your customer service model around social media platforms.
Think of what it costs to keep a customer service hotline up and running, not to mention the time or money that goes into hiring the personnel to maintain it.
Now think about how simple it is to create an e-newsletter or sign up for a Twitter account or create yourself a Facebook fan page… with not a single dime spent in overhead beyond a bit of time commitment.
Or if you prefer… possible outsourcing costs to hire a VA to help you monitor the platforms for issues, feedback, and complaints.
Not only are you often able to answer your customer’s questions right away, in real time… you also make them feel important, listened to, and well-cared for.
You can update them on your latest products and services, how to go about returning merchandise, steps for cashing in their discount coupons… the possibilities are limited only by your own mind.
Nothing beats a great customer experience and most folks don’t balk at paying a bit extra for exactly that. So not only does that help you and your bottom line, but your clients will be very happy. They’ll come back looking for more, all the while telling everybody else how wonderful it is to do business with you.
And that folks is called a customer service slam dunk…
So how do you use social media to rock your customer service mojo? Tell me all about it in the comments below and tell all your friends about this awesome article too while you’re at it. But only if you liked it.