Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Do you use social media to improve your customer service?

Many brands haven't woken up the fact that social media sites are perfect for customer service.

A colleague of mine recently moved into new house and had problems getting her Internet connection up and running.  After a month of copious calls with India and other parts of the universe she had practically given up on her dreams of being a silver surfer.

Luckily for her she is a prolific Tweeter. After one fruitless conversation with Dave from Deli and at the end of her tether she ranted on Twitter about her disappointment with her provider.

To cut a short story shorter….it was fixed within 12 hours.

You would think that most companies are listening and monitoring their brand reputation within social networks but recent figures gathered by Econsultancy found that just 11 per cent of firms use social media sites as a way of offering customer service.

Whether responding to negative posts or thanking a happy customer for their comments

Spin that on its head and you'll find that 81 per cent of businesses with a Facebook page use it for marketing purposes.

However, you can't use social media sites to promote sales if your customer service is shoddy as visitors to your brand page could see negative comments that have not been dealt with - lowering your reputation.

Why isn't social media being used for customer service?

Luke Brynley-Jones, founder of Our Social Times, looked into this problem and detailed the results on the Econsultancy blog.

He found that the main obstacle in firms using social media sites as a platform for customer service is fear!

It seems the majority of you are afraid that by responding to negative comments you'll open a can of worms and a crisis will ensue.

However, this is generally not the case as potential and existing customers would prefer seeing how you respond to criticism and how you rectify the problem.

If you do this well, then your brand reputation will improve and your customers may start recommending you to other B2B buyers.

What's more, recent research from Ogilvy PR found that 60 per cent of B2B buyers are influenced by what their peers have to say about a brand on social media sites, reported the Financial Times.

So why not start responding to tweets that mention your firm on Twitter, whether it's good or bad, and to any comments posted on your Facebook page?