Day one at the Dublin Web Summit was packed full of amazing speakers and insights. This is the first of many blog posts exploring the themes addressed by the speakers that I will be sharing over the next few days. I’ve also been lucky enough to get some video interviews with some of the speakers so keep an eye out for those both here and on my YouTube channel.
Joshua March from Conversocial – Social Media & Customer Service
Joshua’s presentation addressed the customer service challenges we face in social media. Here’s what I picked up from his speech:
Like it or not customer service is changing, in many ways this is good for business small and large. Enabling customer service through social media can be a massive asset.
When brands first embraced social media they tended to see it as a marketing tool, a way to push their message out. At the same time customers were finding that social media was a new way to get the attention and communicate with brands. At first customers would use it as the last resort, when traditional channels didn’t work. They felt, and in my mind still do feel that by asking a company to address their complaints or queries publicly they are asking them to account for their actions. Now for the younger generation particularly using social media to contact companies for customer service queries has become the norm.
As at first it was the marketing departments running social media for businesses and it soon became apparent that they weren’t armed with the tools to deal with customer service, they would ignore some complaints or deal with them badly. Now companies are learning from their mistakes. Dealing with customer service via social media has many advantages.
– It’s cost effective – customer service issues dealt with via social media are much less costly than those dealt with via phone.
– It’s an opportunity – now when companies resolve an issue they not only delight their customers but they do so publicly.
Joshua pointed to the Odeon Cinema chain as an example
Odeon had had a hard time on social media, particularly Facebook a quick google will show you what happened. However they learnt from this, they had learnt the hard way that social was not just a marketing channel and their response was to enable real customer service agents to respond to customers via social media. They gave them training and rebuilt the way they were doing customer service.
How should small business approach social media customer service?
After Joshua’s presentation I started to consider how small business should approach customer service. Here are some of my conclusions:
As small businesses it’s important that we work customer service into our social media plans. There are three key points we should consider.
1. What is customer service to us?
It’s common to imagine customer service just refers to dealing with complaints in a social media context. However customer service should be more than that, it should be a key consideration in our social media planning. We not only need to decided how to deal with a complaint but we need to know what sort of queries we can expect, will customers turn to our social media channels to find out more about our product and service? If we collate our most common queries or even anticipate them we can create content in the form of blog posts or video tutorials that will address them.
This is valuable in two ways. Firstly we don’t have to keep repeating ourselves, we have a resource that can address common queries. Secondly if we host this content on our websites we should see a SEO advantage, if customers are asking these questions of us they must be asking the same questions of the Internet, by addressing them we can attract new customers via the web.
2. Joshua spoke of delighting our customers but how can we do this?
Take some time to think about what you would do in different situations. How will you deal with a customer complaint that would not only resolve the issue but resolve it in such a way that the customer is willing to shout about the quality of the response they got? How can you delight your customers on a day to day basis? This is harder but you need to make sure you are providing something unique and tailored in order to make your customers feel valued. This can be as simple as knowing their names, not using automated content to respond to customers & being personal.
3. When have you experienced great customer experience?
Think aobut the times people have been so happy with customer service they have told you about it, about the times you have been so happy with customer service you have told others. Let these experiences inspire you, what can you do to replicate these experiences?
Do you agree? Have you found a magic formula to delight your customers or have you just been on the receiving end of great online customer service. Tell me your stories below.
**UPDATE** – Find the full presentation from Joshua March here.