Why Customer Service Will Boost Your Marketing Strategy
This is a guest post – Elena Lockett works for Gnatta. Gnatta is a multi channel software which allows businesses to listen and engage with their customers, across a range of social media sites and traditional methods. Gnatta also provides a wide range of analytics to help businesses even further. Sign up and get to know us!
However big or small the business, every company has some form of customer service department and marketing function. Whether that’s a department of 200 or just an individual. Consumers are increasingly (and inevitably) aware of the competition for better service and a higher standard of product. So naturally, marketing and customer service managers are starting to eye one another up.
The question on everyone’s mind is – what if you could use successful or even unsuccessful Customer Service to your marketing advantage?
With more and more of us using public communication to interact with businesses, the days of a private correspondence between a customer and a business are gone. The world is all too well equipped to be a spectator to every corporate mishap – so here’s how to turn it to your advantage.
But first, where?
With social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, all you have to do is check a brand social account to see them communicating with each other and customers in equal measure. These feeds can give you a good look into a brands’ ethos.
Are they open to queries and fast to respond? Do they risk exchanging a joke or two? Or do they rarely answer, with any answers they do give providing little to no information?
When brands do decide to build their online reputation, you’ll often see a personality that shines through; ranging from funny, to factual, to polite and helpful. It all helps you build up a higher respect and opinion of a brand. (you’re more likely to buy from a business who responds, over one that doesn’t). Add in a quick response time and you know they have a dedicated team of customer service advisors waiting to talk to you, which shows good planning and how much they value you.
So, with all this great work being done by your customer service team, why wouldn’t you want to use it as a marketing ally?
People love to talk about what’s happening on social media, and many household names are using it to their advantage. We like to call it “free” marketing.
So how do you do it?
There are many different ways you can turn your customer service into a marketing tool, from simply being proactive on social media and searching for related messages, to answering any query that comes through, to taking it the extra mile like so many other businesses have. But it’s all on a spectrum.
On the good side we have a business going all out to be proactive on Twitter – that well known UK supermarket chain, Tesco. They LOVE Customer Service. They will actively respond to anything on Twitter, whether they’ve been @mentioned, or someone tweeted “it’s raining”. They’re the prime example of using social media to promote a positive brand image.
On the same side, we have businesses using their customer service on social media to truly go the extra mile and do things they wouldn’t normally be unable to. A fireproof way of gaining exposure, is to take a leaf out of Jet Blue’s book.
Obviously there’s some motive behind acts such as this with the hope of going viral online. And this one did by the way, being picked up by a number of news outlets, leading to a tonne of mentions and creating a great bit of exposure for this airline. Challenge complete!
Small businesses have the most opportunity to do something so personal like this, especially if they know their regular customers personally, likely having already established a strong relationship with them.
What NOT to do
Now of course, comes the bad side of the spectrum when it comes to using customer service online. Too often businesses drop the ball, leading the marketing team directly into disaster. The internet can be a cruel mistress, and quick to turn one bad tweet into a viral campaign.
So here are four rules to stay on social media’s good viral side.
Rule 1: Don’t Give the Silent Treatment
If you have an unhappy customer, sometimes you just want to bury your head in the sand and hide. But this is possibly the worst thing you could do.
Even if you don’t have the answer right there and then, acknowledging the issue is a way to show you have seen the message and reassuring them they are being listened to. Your customer will be a lot happier with a holding message than no message at all.
Rule 2: Avoid Bad Automation
Automation can be a great little tool, especially for large businesses. But be warned, sending out the same “Thank you for contacting us…” message can cause customers to get frustrated, especially if they tweet you regularly.
Rule 3: Avoid World Disasters/Inappropriate Subjects
This is a bit obvious but sometimes these slip through the net. We’ve all seen business accounts send out tweets during a minute’s silence, because they set it up as a scheduled event. And then there are the companies who may miss current affairs and make a faux pas, none the wiser until the Twitter storm hits them. Twitter ‘fails’ are all too common now.
Rule 4: Be Brave (But Cautious) With Your Messages
Throwing caution to the wind can be freeing – every now and again, you’ll catch yourself in an updraft and the marketing team will be shaking hands with customer service operators all morning. But be careful. Customers are independent and individual and you have no control over their interpretations. So be brave, just not too brave.
So what should you do to get started?
Starting to think about using your online customer service can be a daunting task, and certainly not something you should rush into.
Personally, we think the best way to approach it is to start out with cutting your response times. Customers want a reply and they want it now! Even if it’s using the previously mentioned automated messages, at least you are showing them their message has been acknowledged.
Brands with low response times tend to have an improved reputation and once that’s sorted, you can start thinking about what you’re actually saying. Who knows, maybe you’ll show your funny side.
Elena Lockett works for Gnatta. Gnatta is a multi channel software which allows businesses to listen and engage with their customers, across a range of social media sites and traditional methods. Gnatta also provides a wide range of analytics to help businesses even further. Sign up and get to know us!
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- How To Use Hashtags The Right Way For Your Business – Mar 4, 2016
- Why Customer Service Will Boost Your Marketing Strategy – Dec 22, 2015
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