If I had to sum up the impact of social media on business with just one word, I’d call it a r-evolution; it describes perfectly the digital tsunami that affected marketing, sales and customer service. Consumers have become more and more inclined to ‘tweet on brands doors‘ rather than pick up the phone and make a call, just because it’s easier and faster.
Like it or not, the customer has become demanding. More than ever.
Smart brands have rapidly adapted to this new scenario, improving internal communication between departments in order to win customer loyalty.
From customer service to service that sells
A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure to interview Jochem Van Drimmelen (online reputation manager and social media advisor at KLM). One of the things that he said is that brands willing to embrace successfully Social Customer Service need first to ‘listen, care and get inspired‘. Then, he also added another crucial concept:
Consumers rely way more on shared experiences than on classic marketing campaigns.
This is the revolution that social networks introduced: they amplify and spread customer experiences in real time. It’s people influencing other people’s purchasing decisions. In fact it’s no secret that most consumers trust online reviews (regardless they’re written by strangers) before choosing where to spend their money.
RESULT: social networks have knocked down the silos between marketing and customer service. Brands using Social Customer Service wisely are now able not only to get their customers more satisfied, but also to leverage customer service a a SALES tool, in particular for retention.
Brands leveraging social customer service
Here’s a couple of good case studies for you.
The famous music streaming company actively engages online with customers. More specifically:
- On Facebook and Twitter with a dedicated support handle @SpotifyCares, directly answering and troubleshooting customers’ queries
- On their support community page, a rich knowledge base with FAQs and all relevant info for customers
- On their open online community, a forum where members exchange info, submit new ideas to improve service and help each other
You can learn more in Social MediaToday’s article including a podcast interview with two Spotify social customer service managers.
The world-wide car rental company started a few years ago dealing with customers on social media. They’ve set up a social customer service team, trained staff properly and got equipped with a digital platform that enabled them to dramatically improve customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Hertz currently manages about 10% of conversations via social, with an excellent response time: on average 15 minutes on Twitter and 30 minutes on Facebook. You can learn more about Hertz story here.
Over to you
- Sales is not just the result of marketing activities (it’s also customer service).
- Marketing is not just a pre-sale activity
- Customer Service is not just an after-sales department (it begins BEFORE sales and it goes on throughout customer journey)
So, instead of thinking about different phases, focus instead on breaking down the silos and let your departments communicate effectively in order to make customer experience your key differentiator.
Have great social conversations.