Social Media for Customer Service
Personal Connection in Cold Economic Times
In any economic climate, you know two big costs for your operation are customer churn and customer acquisition costs. It's much cheaper to retain customers than it is to go out and procure new ones.
So, in a recession, customer retention - and hence the need for stellar customer service - becomes all the more important.
Is your company still relying on outsourced support lines where customers deal with nameless/faceless people - someone different every time - or asking customers to send an email form off to some unknown webmaster whenever they have a question or complaint?
It's time you found a more personal, direct and emotionally satisfying way to answer the queries, address the challenges, and celebrate the successes of your customers.
Social media interaction is the solution - replacing the frustrating entity that, for decades, has been the Customer Service Department. Social media has going for it the very qualities that are deemed by the public as the most desirable ones for service:
- Accountability: You are on public record in your blog, Twitter stream, etc. that you are dealing with the customer's issue.
- Transparency/Authenticity: If you're doing social media right, your full name or at the very least, job title at the company, are apparent to all. So no hiding behind a corporate desk!
- Immediacy: You can, and should, respond right away to customer request for info and/or complaints. No delays required re: waiting for letter to arrive, or sending the customer through voice-mail hell!
Many companies are successfully using blogging and other forms of social media to directly message consumers about all kinds of customer issues (and not all bad).
Walk a Social Media Mile in this Company's Shoes
For example, Zappos, the US shoe company, is leveraging Twitter - the instant messaging meets microblogging platform that grew more than 300 percent in users in 2008 - on a massive scale. The company has a wide following of "fan-sumers" - more than 48,000 Followers (what fans call themselves on Twitter)!
Their Twitter stream, authored by "Zappos.com CEO - Tony", deals with questions about shipping, internal promotions such as "Free Zappos VIP member sign up deadline" and even silly, personal messages such as the singing "Zappettes" in their home office.