If your company is in denial of the importance of social media, beware the consequences. “If you aren’t at the table, you are on the menu,” says Alex Schott, the manager of social media and multimedia communications at Entergy, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in New Orleans, LA.
He’s not wrong. If you aren’t participating in online dialogue about your company, you’re only encouraging more negative comments and more misperceptions.
Serving up customer service on Twitter may sound daunting, but it’s an important and growing customer venue. The demand for customer service via social media channels will only continue to grow. Now is the time to start making a plan for how and what you can do to provide service to customers via social media. If you choose not to delay you can create a BIG competitive advantage.
The experience of the following two companies bears this out:
- TELUS, the Canadian phone company, is leveraging Twitter to address customer needs. They studied their Twitter audience and found that 59% of customers would have called the company if Twitter service wasn’t available. Another 18% of those commenting on Twitter already contacted the company and were not satisfied (creating an opportunity for further resolution and customer engagement). Telus is capitalizing on the growth of Twitter as a service channel due to the corresponding growth in smartphones adoption. What benefits does Telus see? It helps them humanize the brand in a public way (when they reply to customers) and it helps develop relationships and build brand ambassadors. (Follow: @TELUSsupport)
- Entergy, an energy company based in New Orleans, finds that Twitter is their most active social service channel. To best provide customer support, they offer Twitter accounts by region (such as @EntergyTX). They also use Twitter to watch for trends and issues, respond to media stories, plus keep customers updated before, during and after storms. This company also values and uses everyday language in social media service and works to eliminate corporate speak to help build a better connection to customers. Lastly, Entergy offers a mobile app for customers to stay updated on outages and other important updates, plus access their account. Now that is the kind of energy company that I’d like to have! Talk about keeping customers informed (especially if you lose power and all you have is your mobile device).
Want to stay off the menu? If you aren’t active in social media yet, find out what social media websites your audience uses most. That’s a good first step to thinking about where your customers might want service and support. You can search for your company name on http://search.twitter.com and on blog search engines . Then you’ll have a sense of the questions and comments about your brand you could respond to and what social sites you must be active on in order to serve customers. Then, start strategizing!
Do you need assistance setting up your own social CRM strategy? Many companies are struggling to figure out how social media fits in with business intelligence and customer service. We have the solution for you! Customer Relationship Metrics now offers Social Media Business Intelligence services.
Kim Proctor is the Vice President of Social Media Solutions for Customer Relationship Metrics. In addition to her work with CRM Kim is the owner of Customers That Click where she helps organizations to get customers that click to stick with their business