Are you really committed to use social media to meet your customers needs?

If you’re an established company like Comcast, the one thing you have to look out for when jumping into social media is how fast you respond to customer inquiries. On the web, and especially social networks like Twitter and Facebook, a fed up customer can start talking about you and his message will spread like wildfire. Small and mid size businesses are starting to take notice of this and it is becoming an issue for NOT starting to use social media for business purposes:

If you start using social media for customer service, you run the risk that your company will not be able to respond quickly to complaints or problems.

While this is true, worst is not responding at all. Because what you’re essentially saying is ‘we don’t care about you’. As a business owner you have to understand that today potential and current customers expect you to have a presence on the web. And even if you don’t, they’re still going to talk.

Recently I’ve talked about how I’ve had problems with companies, whose products I use, that are on social media and don’t respond to my inquiries. Well guess what, it was only until I started swearing at them on a blog post that all my 3400+ Twitter followers saw that they did something about it. Why wait?

This is a common problem for small and medium sized companies who only have a few people responsible for customer service through social media channels. But as stated above, this shouldn’t stop you from trying to respond. Worst is not doing nothing!

Many argue that social networking for business purposes is not for everybody. I disagree. It’s not for everybody if you are intent on becoming irrelevant. What would you rather be, relevant or irrelevant? I thought so!

If the big guys can do it, you can too

In the video below Frank Eliason, a Sr. Director at Comcast, talks about how Twitter was a catalyst in changing Comcast’s product focused culture to being customer service focused.

Key takeaway is if people are tweeting their questions and concerns about your products or services you have to answer. Period.

Though all businesses have different social media policies, it’s clear that not responding to user or customer inquiries on social media channels is a big fat fail because if you have a presence on Twitter, you’re basically saying ‘talk to me’. And if you don’t talk back, you’re contradicting yourself in the eye of your users or customers. Just like you listen to others concerns before speaking up, so it is on social networks in general. The only difference is on the web there’s thousands of voices talking at the same time and you have to meet this challenge. This is the new state of things, get used to it.

For example Zappos takes a completely different approach to customer service. Instead of seeing customer service as an added cost to their business, they see it as a great way to market the ‘Zappos Way’ and as a result they actually want to talk to customers.

The world has changed and so has customer service. People are on social networks talking to their friends about either what a great or bad service they got with you. One of them can win you loyal customers, the other one can make you look like the worst business on the face of the planet. Which one do you want? The balls on your court.

How committed are you at using social media to meet your customers needs?

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