Is Your Company Socialized?

Many companies are still trying to determine the return on investment (ROI) for Social Media activities.  Other companies have embraced it and are even providing customer service with Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites. In my opinion, this service and support engagement on social channels is the next frontier for addressing the needs of your community of raving fans, loyal customers, and disgruntled grumblers — as well as a great place for the occasional promotion.

The Positive Experience: Comcast Does Care!

Take a company like Comcast that was struggling with a less-than-stellar reputation for excellent customer service with email.  They changed the way they handle customer service by using Social Media as a way for people to reach out to them.  Now when I have any issue with my Comcast Internet service I just send a tweet to @ComcastBill.  I will get a response in a short time frame like an hour or the next day depending on the time of day.  I will get assigned to a customer service specialist and get answers to my questions FAST.

Another satisfying customer service experience I had recently was with Yamaha USA Audio products.  I looked at the Yelp reviews for my local service centers and was not thrilled.  So I looked for another way to contact customer service.  I found the Yamaha Facebook page for customer service and submitted a post to the page with my question.  Within 48 hours, I was contacted and assigned a case number.  As it turned out, they offered to pay shipping to the service center for my in-warranty broken receiver.

These are two recent examples of how I have personally used social media to get exceptional customer service from “Big” companies.

Negative Experience: The Local Bike Shop with a Deaf Ear

I bought an expensive road bike from my local bike shop.  I followed them on Twitter and liked their page on Facebook.  I tweeted to them and commented on their Facebook page.  The company did not follow me back on Twitter or even like my comment or posts on their Facebook page.  Ouch. I probably will not pay much attention to their social sites in the future.  It’s not enough just to go through the motions and appear to have a social media presence, you have to actually participate, keep up the dialogue, and make customers feel like part of the brand.  I suggest fast response, follow your followers and like your fans’ comments, posts and pictures.

Best Practices

Whether you’re using social media for engagement or have gone to the next level and are providing customer service via social channels, there are a few important things to remember.

  • Listen on all the channels where your customers and prospects live and play

  • Follow people and companies on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and others

  • Interact with fans and followers so they feel recognized and valued

  • React quickly to both good news and complaints, with transparency and empathy

  • Acknowledge and appreciate you customers. Take opportunities to offer value to existing customers especially. A retained customer is the most valuable of all. (Remember, promotions and contests are a great way to raise interest and gain fans; just keep them relatively rare and always fun!)

A final thought: Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble, talks about the 5 E’s of Social: Educate, Enchant, Engage, Embrace, and Empower. If you connect with your prospects and customers using those ideas, you will build a brand following to be envied.

Is your company Socialized?

Clay Franklin is founder of Clay Franklin Marketing. He specializes in using the Internet and Social Media to help small to medium sized businesses acquire new customers and generate additional revenue from existing customers.