Social media is too important to be ignored anymore. Nearly every company concerned with developing an online presence is also present on social media and is at the very least looking into viral marketing campaigns. These tools have functioned in a variety of ways, from announcing new products, advertising or even public apologies without the need for a press conference. One of the most valuable assets, however, has been the way social and video allow customers and businesses to have open communication for problem solving or general feedback. Here are some of the biggest ways that social media has changed customer service today:
Rapid Response Times – Customers will always have problems that require quick solutions and will always expect resolutions to go over as smoothly as possible. Emails can take 1-2 days to receive a response, sometimes longer. Phone calls are quick once you get through, but it can be difficult to call during normal business hours. Companies with official Facebook pages and Twitter handles are able to offer quick and clear feedback to customer complaints. Sometimes a customer only needs to feel acknowledged in order to relax about a problem; if they tweet the cable company about an outage and are told that it’s being fixed, there’s an immediate validation given to the customer. Posting a quick video works the same way, it provides immediate gratification.
Increased Word of Mouth – One of the unique elements of social media is the fact that it’s an internationally public forum. Barring user-specific privacy settings, when customers ask a company a question, everyone can see the interaction and/or join in the conversation. By invoking your name, customers are reinforcing your brand to their followers, and the result of their interaction can also be witnessed, whether positive or negative. In addition, the equivalent functions of “likes” and “shares” and “re-posts” can further increase the reach of a single customer interaction.
Up-to-Date without the Update – Within any company, things are in a constant state of change. Employees come and go, products improve, things break down, etc. Any change can have a direct and unexpected effect on the customer, and updating the website or emailing every customer about the changes is not always a practical or even feasible solution. Social media allows businesses to keep the customer up-to-date without needing to send out more traditional updates which may be too slow to even address the issue. It also allows for a constant stream of information that is easily accessible by interested parties.
More than Words – With Instagram and other visually-based social media avenues, companies can use more than just text to facilitate communication; screenshots of solutions to common issues, video responses for a more personal touch, and so on. Videos are overwhelmingly one of the Internet community’s preferred methods of sharing an idea. Just look at the viral sensations of the last few years as examples. In some instances, companies are using video to simply replace other forms of communication, like sending a thank you note to a customer to encourage further feedback.
Keep Your Customer Excited – Customer service isn’t only about problem solving. Sometimes it’s about engaging customers in a way that brings them in or keeps them loyal to your brand. Every company with an online presence ought to know the value of an open line of communication. Even a smaller company like Dunkel Brothers has a blog and even a Facebook page where it updates its community on the exciting things the company is doing, like prepping the road for the arrival of a space shuttle. Letting your customers get to know you and your company’s personality will lay the groundwork for more peaceful problem solving in the future by making your customers feel like part of the family before they have a complaint. Take advantage of social media and video capabilities such as instantaneous communication to positively change the public’s perception of your company.
Other brands are using these marketing strategies, are you?
Camille McClane is a tech and social media enthusiast and journalist who has been covering the topics for several years.