As the new, gigantic version of word-of-mouth, social media has turned customer service on its ear.
If you’re a business owner, you likely already know that good customer service is imperative to a good reputation. A customer’s experience can go viral in a matter of hours so it is important to make every interaction a positive one.
Here are four companies that are using social media to its utmost advantage for their customer service and how you can emulate their effective approach to social customer service.
Create a Community like Starbucks
Even if you have a brick and mortar business model with little or no online sales, social media is increasingly important in customer care. This is the finding of coffee giant Starbucks. Instead of using social media to address individual issues, Starbucks uses social networks to manage customer knowledge and sharing activity. They actually shift the role of the customer from passive coffee drinkers to active-change agents.
Instead of using these platforms to suggest changes only after a problem has been identified, Starbucks allows customers to proactively make recommendations and share their knowledge of the company in a positive light. Use your social media to create a community that will alleviate the natural reluctance that customers often have about sharing company information by enrolling them as business confederates.
Be the Good Guy like Lifelock
The internet security company LifeLock uses Twitter and Facebook to create a community of good guys, separating themselves from the bad guys. Besides introducing customers to its safety team, the LifeLock Twitter feed is full of information that bonds the company and the reader together as partners.
Since the mission of the company is internet security, the central theme of the social media message is that LifeLock is watching out for us. They have built a persona almost like a super hero and the consumer is the goodhearted citizen. Your social plan needs to place both the company and the client on the same side of the table. Effective engagement has both being on the same team.
Make Personal Interactions like ComcastCares
Comcast has one of the worst records for customer service. For years they have topped the list of poorest responses to consumer requests. To counteract this problem, Frank Eliason created the @ComcastCares handle on Twitter (now controlled by Will Osborne).
Using this platform, Eliason would personally address issues from customers. He was so successful, earning him a lot of media attention, that ComcastCares became cited as a best business practice for customer service. Eliason later was recruited by Citi Bank as their social media director. The personal touch is foundational for good consumer response. The hard part is that it can be very demanding on your personnel resources so factor that in when you plan your customer service response strategy.
Read Competitor Feeds like Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut monitors the public feeds of its competition, compares it to their own and analyzes it against user adoption intentions. In other words, they use social media as a feedback mechanism to define the customer’s pizza and delivery preferences. The best social media campaign is one that looks at your competitor’s social media. Know what your competition is doing and take steps to engage their customers.
When you consider the evolution of customer service, new technology and trends, social media in customer service may not ever become a traditional contact channel, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be an effective tool for social engagement with customers.
Instead of using social media to address individual issues, companies are using social media to manage customer knowledge and relationship development.