Lean Marketing: Delivering Customer Service via Social Media Mike | April 30th, 2012

We write often about the power of great customer service and share ideas for how to engage with customers. improve delivery, and analyze your performance in this crucial arena. There are reasonably priced tools aplenty which can help you provide better service to your customers: help-desk software like Zendesk, virtual call center services such as ifbyphone, and real-time chat tools for your website such as velaro.

By leveraging the power of social media you too can open up completely new and valuable channels through which your customers can reach you quickly and easily. Today we’re going to discuss some tools which will cost you a grand total of $0, require virtually no time to set-up, and with which your employees are already fully trained. What’s that you say? Free AND immediate? Sounds too good to be true, right? Well my friends, read on, because it’s not too good to be true.

Several key components are important to the use of  social media to deliver customer service  effectively and when well-executed, these can add up to a meaningful competitive advantage. First and perhaps most important, your company must learn to actively listen; people out there may be talking about your company or even complaining about your company and you need to develop the ability to hear them. Second, the active engagement of customers (or potential customers) via the channel that the customer prefers is critical to your success with this strategy; this is an incredible opportunity for you to learn about your customers and an equally incredible opportunity to create true fans. Finally your company needs to develop the ability to measure the SM traffic to your business; by better understanding your customer’s online behavior, you can better understand the customers themselves and anticipate their needs.

1. Twitter.

Twitter is the simplest and most powerful of the social media tools for providing great customer service. Powerful and simple search capabilities make it easy to listen when Twitter users mention your company and the ability to track those comments in real time and respond immediately makes a huge and lasting impression. Use Twitter search to set up a search for mentions of your company’s name and e ready to immediately pounce at the first complaint, complement, or question someone might have abut your company. We use Tweetdeck which allows you to view multiple search terms simultaneously and respond to people with 140 character answers. Of course you can also use Twitter to direct people to your site or other support channels when a more complex answer or solution is required. Twitter also offers web analytics tools which allow for tracking of traffic sent to your site by. Help desk software like Zendesk even allows the full integration of Twitter and will create new tickets when Tweets are received to your account.

2. Facebook and Google +.

These services allow people to contact you directly through a trusted platform that millions of people around the world are already using comfortable and effectively. By setting up a page for your business on Facebook and Google+ you make your company available and accessible for customers with problems or questions, or even folks who just want to share something with you. We receive comments and questions every day on our FB page and are instantly notified when someone posts something. This allows us to respond quickly, either right there on Facebook or by moving the conversation to our own help desk.

3. Skype.

Not so much a social media tool, but a very practical and inexpensive way to communicate with customers from around the world. Skype provides high-quality voice and video-chat features which enable our customer service agents to reach out to anyone anywhere anytime. Nice.

4. YouTube, Flickr, et al.

Great customer service should be a two-way street. Remember it’s not just about responding to the questions your customers ask, it’s also about anticipating those questions and making the answers easily available. We post videos on YouTube that explain everything from a high-level view of how crowdSPRING works, right down to the nitty-gritty of how to post your first project to the site. A link to these pages can be sent out or shared through the various support channels or people can easily find them for themselves with a quick search.

5. Blog and newsletter.

Your blog and your newsletter are other great channels for providing customers with valuable information about your company and your products or services. Using content distribution to preemptively help your  customers is an effective way to  share information, engage users, and build valuable relationships. Whether you are contributing ideas and information intended to help other business owners and managers, or sharing tips about your own offerings these channels can be easily measured and analyzed to determine if people are interested in what you have to say – if they are keep up the great work; if not, adjust your approach and try again.

Photo: Widjaya Ivan

 

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