October 29, 2009

Demanding Customer Service: The Social Media Way

How many times have you found yourself on hold for twenty minutes only to find that you're still the fifth caller in line? Over the years as companies have grown larger, wait times have gotten longer, and customer service has declined. Sadly enough, often times doing something about it would take even more time and energy than one would wish to exert.

The good news for consumers is that social media is helping change customer service by giving them a voice. Throughout the tough period in our economy many businesses have taken matters into their own hands to ensure that they retain customers by monitoring customer service satisfaction. How? By listening to social media.

If you or your company is effectively using social media, I'm sure you've probably found a favorite site to use. For the example in this post we will use Twitter. I want to personally admit that Twitter has captured my heart. Not because I care about what everyone is doing, but because it is such an effective communication tool.

Word-of-mouth advertising is powerful. My friends like to call me the referral queen. If I like something, I talk about it and make sure to tell everybody I see. So when I'm dissatisfied, I do the same. Websites like Twitter allow you to learn about the latest stories as they happen.

By simply searching Twitter you can find people tweeting about any topic you want to know about. You can also find great discounts, events, potential customers, and what people are saying about your business. All of the examples used below are actual tweets that occurred within the last week.

Let me show you exactly how powerful Twitter really is. When people like something, they speak directly to their friends and to the rest of the world that may be watching. Throughout the examples you will see this done by using the @ symbol. Here are a few good examples of what customers are saying about businesses and products.

Just as fast as people can be angered by one of your service personnel, someone can tweet about it. Anybody who had plans to visit the store or buy a product, can just as quickly change their mind. This is why social media gurus encourage companies to engage in conversation with their customers directly. This ensures that you're not only listening, but that you are doing something about it.

The following is a good example of what is best known as the retweet (RT). Anything someone posts can be retweeted. That means anyone following the first tweeter sees it and then whoever is following the next tweeter, sees it also. You're talking about reaching hundreds to thousands of people within minutes.

At the top you will notice that VisitFranklin has retweeted Mizzie's comment about her satisfaction with Embassy Suites in Franklin, Tennessee. If someone likes what you said and cares to share it with others, then they may just retweet it. From my observation, many people will just retweet information just to have something to tweet about.

Whether you understand it or not, in my opinion Twitter is way more than a communication tool. It is a great way to share videos, find links to great articles, and connect with people unlike ever before. So if you're running a special or have information that could be of use to others; tweet about it. 

Still unsure about using social media? Check out another article entitled why Customer Service Should Be in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy.

Written by: Danielle Smith

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