Last week I wrote about social media customer service and after I had blogged about the subject, I seemed to find an endless amount of articles that week about the very subject. So why does it seem like this subject is trending? It’s because it is something that every company needs to embrace and excel at in order to maintain customer loyalty.
Sure, I don’t think that most people really expect to get an answer from the company. They may just want to vent or simply just speak about a bad experience and get validation to switch brands. However, I believe that social media customer service is going to become a standard business task and a new way to increase customer loyalty beyond loyalty programs.
Everyone loves coupons and cards that make them feel like they are special in some way, however when a customer has a bad experience, those “loyalty” programs are not going to mean anything. I mean, loyalty programs just attempt to increase traffic through frequent user incentives, but if something bad happens you bet they are going to think twice about using your service again. What I am trying to say is that loyalty isn’t about offering incentives and trying to get the customer to come in and buy your product or service as much as possible, it’s about creating a genuine relationship with the customer and caring about their experiences both good and bad.
Everyday I hear about storied where companies do not respond to social media complaints, praises, questions, etc, and I guarantee they do not have a good impression of the company. In this day in age where there what seems like a million brands and advertising at every corner, customer loyalty and retention is becoming increasingly important. If your mom praised you for something or complained about something, would you ignore it? Generally, no. Why? Because they are in a meaningful relationship. Invest in social media, it’s not a fad, it’s not advertising, it’s a loyalty driven initiative. Even if your company manages to respond to comments, when they are 5 days later, it still isn’t as effective as it could be. Be aware of what customers are saying and turn that bad experience around to ensure that you don’t lose a customer or simply thank a customer who praised the company- this isn’t rocket science.
I know it takes awhile and companies are cutting back on everything on essential to the business offering, however isn’t having customers essential to the business? Keep ignoring those customer social media comments, and you could find yourself without a loyal customer base before you even realize it.
Be smart with your company. Customers are the reason you have a company, so care about them. It is that simple.
“Be everywhere, do everything, and never fail to astonish the customer.” Macy’s Motto
I am amazed at how many companies still don’t understand how to effectively utilize social media platforms, especially in regards to customer service. Times are changing and it is no longer enough to simply offer customer service through a hotline. Everything you do as a company should be translated to all of your social media platforms- communication, customer relationship management, promotion, and often the most important of all… customer service.
I recently had a very positive experience with social media customer service, which seems to be a rare service among most companies. The company that gets customer service? Fossil, Inc.
Recently, I had my watch strap connector break for the third time in the past year. Usually in the past, I would drive 40 mins to a Fossil outlet and they would replace the connectors free of charge. However, I did not have the time to make that trek this time around. I called the outlet store and needless to say, they told me to buy a strap or a new watch and there was nothing that they could do.
My next step? Test their social media customer service. I tweeted my frustration right to Fossil, Inc.
Not only did I receive a response FOURTEEN minutes after my post, they placed an order for a new watch strap to get sent to my house all within an hour. This, my fellow readers, is a company that gets it. Customer service is one of the biggest drivers of brand loyalty- you only have a small window of opportunity to turn a bad experience and possible lost customer into a meaningful opportunity to make a relationship and connection.
As a company, you have to go out of your way to not only meet customer’s needs and desires, but you have to ASTONISH customers. That is what makes the difference between an ordinary company and an extraordinary company. You can bet that I will be a Fossil customer for a long time and all it took was one hour.