Social customer services is a new competitive advantage for modern companies in order to establish stronger relationships with their clients. Customer service in the past was a huge problem, especially for small companies.
The “Not-So-Long-Time-Ago” Customer Services Experience
To provide exemplary customer services in my field (e-business & e-learning) I had to find the right partners, the correct call centers and devote many company’s resources to a dubious, at best, result!
I had to balance and coordinated experts in the field, a ridiculous large amount of time at the early stages of the project/services/product launching, development of new roles and communication channels, development of a customer-based culture, etc. against the customer satisfaction which, for me, was one of the top priorities.
It was a difficult equation to solve because it included many cost-inducing parameters, a small company was unable to invest! It needed money, time and experts at the least and dedicated communication channels and company’s roles, a small company couldn’t afford. And always you should keep a keen eye on the obstacles your customer services can create to your day-to-day operation.
For this reason, most of the times you need to form a strategic alliance with a brand specialized in the field of customer services and it would reduce your operational costs.
This it was a bet, at the best, because despite your efforts the customer’s loyalty to your brand or company was not reassured! (a bad product is not saved by good customer service as much as you would like it!)
As a general rule, customer services can enhance the visibility of a product or services many times over, but, a good customer service starting to prove its worth after a certain (prolonged most of the times) amount of time.
The Role of Social Customer Services
Social media change all that. Now via the existing networks, you can develop more and stronger 1:1 relationship with your clients and your audience and gain an effective platform for broadcasting your message to your specific niche market.
The chance is that most of existing clients/customers or your prospects and lead are already in a specific social media.
One critical element in today’s business equation is the “trust” factor and the speed with which you can resolve problems of your clients or direct them to find their own solutions. And this is exactly the pivotal advantage, social media brought to customer services.
Today the brand or company is not an anonymous, faceless organization located “somewhere” in the globe. It has an “identity”, a social media presence, a brand, and agents monitor and interacts all the time for subjects and issues related to their brand.
These agents are not faceless either. They write, communicate and interact, while they keep an “open-door” policy for all the subjects related to their brand! This is of huge importance for every customer of a specific product or an interested person who would like some help to decide on using or not a given product or service.
When the social customer services are implemented the right way can provide to your brand a huge competitive advantage against companies does not have or practice a consistent social customer services policy.
The Social Customer Services Usage Within A Brand!
Social Customer Services, when used strategically, can be an integral part of the operations of a company and can perform many functions. They can handle operations, among many others, as:
- develop awareness and visibility for the brand
- customer services on the spot and on-demand (of course!).
- immediate response to a message from Twitter of Facebook
- development of specialized groups for specifics aspects of the brand (groups as in Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn)
- an early warning system for “problems” in a product or services
- exercise in full the corporate accountability
- diversified by similar brands
- a communication hub, disseminating requests, questions and inquiries to the respected departments and experts
- a 24/7 flow of information and interaction with your clients and prospects which can be utilized in many ways
- a multiplier of the brand’s visibility and loyalty of the customers to the specific brand
- enhanced, unstoppable, and via any device provision of various value-added services
- customer satisfaction surveys
- promote offers, alternative usability issues, hacks, tips, tutorials, how-to and white papers can direct someone to the purchase of a product or the closing of a deal
- closing the marketing loop, provide secondary marketing services in a broad spectrum
- leverage the technological and commercial advantages of a brand
- establish authority and leadership in a specific section
- promote the company’s values and general direction and the company’s culture
- provide able reasons to the prospects to move towards their brand
- enhance and maintain the loyalty of clients
- educate and train their clients
- provide supporting metrics for the success or not of a certain activity, campaigns, event, etc.
From a consulting point of view, it is much safer (and efficient) to have a personal relationship with the people ask your help rather direct them to a faceless call center to handle their request. And exactly this it the advantage social customer services bring to the table!
Question: Do you consider social customer services important for your brand, or not? How do you perform social customer services today? Please share your experience on social customer services. It can be useful for everyone!