Social Media: Listen to your customers!
No business gets it right 100% of the time, but when things do go wrong, the most important thing is: how will you respond to put things right? This can make all the difference to the future reputation of your brand & the likelihood of getting repeat business.
Community Management: what’s going on?
My work with brands like TNT, has a strong element of Community Management at its core. This involves monitoring the social media landscape using a combination of automated keyword software, & the old fashioned MK1 human eyeball. We work closely with the Customer Service department as well as the Press Office, Sales & Marketing to understand the campaigns & events likely to drive the online discussion topics relevant to the brand.
Online Customer Service via social media
In the case of a recent global delivery contract for iPhone 4 & iPad managed by TNT on behalf of their customer we were able to track & report on topics and trends developing in online forums on an hour by hour basis.
These online conversations were invaluable early warning tools indicating pressure on digital infrastructures & Customer Service Contact Centres we saw a few days later. Crucially, our social media monitoring allowed us to plan the social media & staffing resource TNT needed to effectively service their customers. In addition, our mutual collaboration with the marcomms team gave TNT insight allowing them to future plan areas of their online PR, online reputatation management (ORM), and business continuity & social media crisis management.
Alongside directly engaging with customers, we were able to plan marketing and PR messages in the run up to TNT’s peak delivery period (a 48 hour period spread across several continents), & to push these messages out through the social media networks & forums to promote positive messages, pre-empt negative inquiries & address customers directly with help and advice.
The majority of our customer service conversations for TNT were handled through Twitter. By picking up conversations that were already taking place through Tweets, we were able to engage with the customer using the channel chosen by them.
Twitter works wonderfully well for customers in this situation. They send a message in their own time, get a reply directly, and see an instant audit trail for their customers service inquiry as it progresses.
It’s also good news for TNT too, removing strain on the customer service call centres, TNT’s website parcel tracking website & with a very real potential to remove operating overhead from traditional telephone infrastructure
Positive customer feedback = good search engine results!
It really does go to show that all customers really want is to be treated like people. If there’s a problem, fine, as long as you acknowledge me, deal with the issue one to one and show that you’re sorting it out, 99% of the time I won’t hold a grudge.
In fact, done right, customer service issues can be turned into an opportunity to positively influence brand perception – a chance to shine, to show you really do care!
As the hours passed and the customer engagements were managed, we were able to track the change of topics, trends and sentiment through page one of Google’s search results & online forums. What started as an uneasy scepticism, & in some cases an excited or outraged cry for help, quickly evolved into a cautious relief & final acknowledgement for the brand of a job well done.
Great news for the people whose issues were sorted & great to have a bunch of satisfied customers, especially when the search engines were singing praise for the brand on excellent customer service & delivery through Twitter. Straight from the horses’ mouth!