How Social Media Influences Customer Service.

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The methods for reaching your audience or target market has changed drastically over the last decade. Any company that is NOT using social media to reach and communicate with their customers are omitting one of the most powerful tools that exist today.

I don’t want  to draw your attention to the potential  or use of social media, as the host of this blog, Ivin Viljoen can best teach you about that. The value I want to bring with this post is about the importance of delivering impeccable customer service and using social media to do so.

One of the major reasons why social media is becoming more than just a tool to share pictures or status updates amongst friends is that the accessibility of all the information you share is literally at hand through our mobile devices and smart phones.

What does the numbers say?

Research has shown that 80% of businesses believe they deliver “superior” customer service. In reality, only 8% of customers have experienced superior service from those same companies.

  • 24% of those who lost their temper about a product/service turned to social media to talk about their experience with that company.
  • 40% of consumers using social sites value access to customer service.
  • 70% of airlines surveyed will use social media to promote their brand and offer reservations, customer relationship management and check-in via social media platforms.
  • 80 percent of consumers heard back from brands they contacted through social media within 12 hours.
  • 59% of organisations take more than one working day to respond to email complaints, the average response time on Twitter was 5.1 hours, with 10 percent of companies answering within one hour.

The power of social media.

If you go back a few years where word of mouth was the only social channel, a bad customer service experience got shared on average with another 12 individuals. This is 4 times higher compared to the passing on of a good customer service experience.

When we consider social media, specifically Twitter, a tweet can be seen by hundreds if not thousands of your customers in a matter of hours or even minutes. You cannot ignore social media when it comes to providing effective customer service . A customer’s negative reaction can go viral overnight if it’s not handled quickly and professionally.

For companies planning to have a major social media presence you need to be prepared by not only having social media marketers, but measures of monitoring in place to catch and resolve issues as they arise. A great customer experience of a happy social media user can not be overstated.

Companies are looking to be quicker with content, provide faster approval and be able to capitalize on the conversation and content of the moment. ~ Jeff Barrett (@barrettall)

My own personal experience.

Not that long ago I had a very rude check out lady in a large supermarket. When I came home, I tweeted about my experience and within the hour I was speaking to someone at head office who wanted to know all the details of the terrible service I received.

Although I was feeling really frustrated about how I got treated hours before and now I felt gratitude that someone was listening to my complaints. I took to Twitter again to give that amazing update to soften to overall impact of the previous one. Now just imagine I did not receive that service…. Oh and I do need to mention that this all happened on a Sunday morning…

EURAILEurail.

Proving that old dogs can, indeed, learn new tricks, 50-year-old travel company Eurail has transformed itself from a trusted brick and mortar train travel business into an entity on the cutting edge of social media.

Taking the time to interact with customers on a one-on-one basis every day, Eurail utilizes Facebook and Twitter in its efforts to connect with travelers, whether they have per-sales questions or a problem during a per-planned trip.

With tens of thousands of fans and followers within its social media network, Eurail has created a dedicated team of travel professionals to handle the Facebook and Twitter accounts, allowing them to provide fantastically timely responses to every query.

Known today as one of the most social media-friendly and technologically savvy travel companies in the world, there can be no doubt that Eurail’s willingness to dive into the latest social trends has helped to propel them forward.

 Important Social Media Customer Service rules.

To be honest, there is not much of a difference between the “Old school customer service” and the service you provide on Social Media, but as mentioned in the beginning of the blog only 8% of customers felt like they had a good experience.

Because customer service is universal, here are 10 hard and fast rules you can apply  anywhere in  your business.

  • Don’t be arrogant.
  • Proofread and spell check all content before it’s posted.
  • Always keep to the facts. Customer service is not fiction.
  • If you messed up, apologize for it.
  • Never shift the blame to someone else.
  • Never blame your customer.
  • Don’t try to hide mistakes but instead keep them online and acknowledge them.
  • Customer Service is the front-line of your company. You need to have motivated and knowledgeable people.
  • Always respond to complaints and respond to them as soon as possible.
  • Respond to any queries within 24 hours

Write those rules down and make sure that each employee that communicates with your customers via social media is aware of these golden rules. In fact, it is my belief that these rules should be part of your company policy.

You will have noticed that this article is focused on the use of Twitter. Don’t be fool ed though, there is no difference in the communication with your customers and the messages you send across, no matter what platform you use.

Your Turn.

Do you have any customer service stories where social media was involved? Do you know of  any stories where you heard of great customer service through social  media or even a horror story of customer service fails? Share them below.

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My Interview with Sandy Geyer at #INDJHB

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I know it’s a bit late, but I went to the International Networking Day Johannesburg event (#INDJHB) July 4th. The speakers were really inspirational and every talk was surprisingly complementary of each other. While I would have LOVED to get an interview with each speaker, Sandy was the only one that I could tie down on this day.

My notes from her talk (That I asked her about) – Feel free to Retweet.

 

 

 

The I asked her what the single most important business tip she can give to entrepreneurs was. Watch her powerful responses in the video below.

Get Sandy’s book today!

Your Turn.

Have you heard her talk? What did you think of the QnA? What questions would you like to ask her? Perhaps I can lock her down in an audio interview. Post them below.

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Sa Big Brand Content Critiques Week 3: Music Stores.

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Last week I had a pretty good run with content critiques, where last week, I looked at big brands, especially in the supermarket sector. A quick audit will reveal the following:

  • 17 Comments
  • 120 Tweets
  • 4 Likes
  • 4 Google Plusses
  • 8 LinkedIn shares.
  • 228 Pageviews.

Doesn’t seem like a lot, I know, but it’s pretty much viral for my blog. The critiques were taken in good spirit by all the brands involved and it was a good post overall. Definitely something to build on. So, I decided to do one each week, and perhaps some other content in-between (as I have time, who does eh?). I’ll do a proper report at the end of the month on the blog, the series and share some tricks.

Onto the critiques!

look-and-listenI want to look specifically at posts on two platform specifically. Let’s look at Facebook first:

Just before Christmas this is a great Facebook post. It’s relevant, timely and valuable for fans. ‘I can buy great gifts for under R100/R200?’ Great! And then the tagline: Spoil your family and friends, not your budget. Great piece of content to market with. The problem with this post is with the ability to get action from fans, their  ability to take action or a lack of a call to it (action) [Not in the image anyway - which is the piece that grabs attention].

Now let’s talk about the link:
  • The link leads to an online publishing platform Issuu, which allows you to publish magazines and booklets. Look n Listen has  great online platform with a lot of traffic, why not post it there. Or use a plugin. There are many options they could have used here, but sending traffic away from your brand page or website is not too wise.
  • The link is a shortened link, which is not always advisable, because people want to know where it’s leading to. So I would advise them to use legitimate, Look n Listen links. It’s easy to create pages, especially in WordPress.
  • Another thing about the link is, it’s not a good link, because how do people take action online? There are no ‘Buy’ or  ‘Order’ or ‘Add to cart’ links or buttons on Issuu. But it won’t help them to send their fans to their website, which is kind of the idea of a Facebook page  and marketing on it. But sending traffic to their website won’t bring more sales, because their fans/customers cannot buy anything on their site. It’s not e-commerce enabled.

I can also see that Look n Listen is not using all the tools available to them on Facebook. I would definitely ask the favorites their customers have found in their stores and offer something like a R1000 gift voucher for the best idea/combo. This will drive comments, I could also ask for likes and shares, which they don’t do.

If I have 11k odd fans on a Facebook page I run, I would be smoking it!

The overall fan page management is also very spammy. Not a lot of value given or provided. Most of the content, although very nicely designed by a graphic designer, doesn’t garner any community feedback or  engagement. I also see their fans asking questions that is left hanging. Not very good for a brand.

Onto their Twitter account.

Look an Listen’s Twitter account is a bit better. They’re doing customer service, but not really any marketing or value driven posts. Let’s look at 2 different tweets.

Customer asked where he can buy headphones. They send follower to their store locator on their website, which means nothing to them right now, because nothing can be bought from there. What would I have done?

Look at the location of the follower. In this case, the follower has not filled in his location, but if he looks at the other person he tagged with a handle, I’ll look at his profile and see he’s in Joburg. Then I’ll give him all the stores in Joburg. I would then give him the list of 10 stores in joburg. Or, even better, ask him in which suburb he stays in and give him the nearest store. Instead of giving my follower work, where my purpose of existing is to provide value to my followers and make life easier for them. I am honored he is my fan, and therefore should help him.

Let’s look at another tweet.

 

The only tweet where the image is properly designed or posted. All the other images, like Beyonce’s new album promo or the Christmas tweet that links to the Ussuu page, haven’t been designed or cropped properly, to fit into Twitter image parameters.

  • It works because it has the ability to drive traffic to their stores = feet. This one also links to their own site, which is great. No call to action needed on the tweet or the website, as the promotion is there to create buzz.
  • It fails because the ‘ Tweet of the Day’  with the question (which could drive feet to the stores), isn’t followed up in the days after. So it didn’t do for them what it could have done.

Why is the above important? Because people spend time on Twitter, some a lot, and if they made an effort to trending they could drive massive feet. Why? If I’m around the East Rand Value Mall and saw this tweet, or any tweet for that matter, I would drive in if I’m in the area and check the promos out.

Also, don’t get me wrong on this. I’m a fan. I like their website because it’s clean and good design. They only fail in the e-commerce and perhaps not having a blog people could go to, comment and ask questions on. It’s a great way to build a following to build the platform with. Also, I almost never walk out of their stores without a DVD or something in my hand (having bought it).

If the guys at Look n Listen want to talk to me about their online platform, have them call me at 084 8644 618.

Onto the next one.
2014-01-13 09-30-05 PM

I have also always liked Musica. Their series DVD’s are less interesting these days, which is why I don’t frequent their stores too often anymore. Compared to Look n Listen, Musica is a boring store. But I’m not here to talk about store layout and merchandising. Let’s look at their Facebook platform.

I have to say I LOVE this post, and I’ll discuss the reasons below. Musica ran many promotions during December, which I imagine got them a lot of increased engagement. But this post is awesome… not perfect, but awesome. Let’s look at why:

  • They used a prize worth R1500+ to get people to engage.
  • They asked a simple question: “What is the mystery prize”.
  • When you click the link, it goes to their own website.
  • Terms and conditions (almost taking the fun out of comps) clearly posted.
  • Clear on when the comp ends.
  • Got 91 likes and 81 comments.

Now, when Musica reads this, they’re going to point to their wins. Although this has been a great post, with all the necessary elements (give value, call to action etc), it’s not perfect, as I mentioned before. Let’s look at where this could have been better.

  • Ask a question that doesn’t get such a boring answer. Reading ‘Jabra ear clip headphones sport bluetooth headset.’ 81 times isn’t entertaining. What they could have done is perhaps ask what they would use the prize for, the answer indicating exactly what it is – each different.
  • The 2 lonely shares is a weakness, because they could have gotten a lot more out of this post than they got. Sometimes we should just ask for a share, because this is definitely a post worth sharing.
  • The text is too long. I’m sure if I looked at editing the copy, you could get away with less. Let’s see: ‘What can you do with today’s mystery gift? A clue to what it is is here: (bitly link). Post your answer under the clue: Black and yellow device is great for using with sports and cost R1599.95. Comp ends tomorrow. T&C’s apply.’ Sometimes a little copy editing can save you lots of space.
  • What I’m missing here is an image. The online brochure is chalk full of great images. A simple screen capture image tool and re size could have gotten you a better effect.
  • Another thing that could be done better, which works when you post an image, is posting the link in an update, instead of ‘ sharing a link’ .

Perhaps these tweaks could have gotten them more engagement. We won’t know. Let’s move onto their Twitter account.

Oops, they don’t seem to have a Twitter account.Let’s look at the opportunities they are missing here:

  • They can’t leverage their brand to trend in Sa.
  • They cannot  do live customer service.
  • They cannot engage their fans effectively.
  • They miss branding opportunities on a very large platform that cannot be ignored.

This is where Look n Listen one ups them.Let me address their website quickly. Also, no opportunity to make sales online, as the website is designed to sell only and has not ‘Add to Cart’  functionality.

If anyone knows the marketing and Pr guys over at Musica, please have them call me at 084 8644 618. Onto the next one.

cum-books

Let’s start with their Facebook page. On the outset, the problem I keep hammering on in this post. Christmas branding/promos.

This post has a lot of potential, but fails in it’s intent because of the following reasons:

  • This post is in Afrikaans, which may be clever, because the book is Afrikaans. On the other hand, it alienates 70% of Sa’s population. It’s a toss up and difficult to decide. I’m sure there is an English version of this book available?
  • The text could be a lot less. You can say so much with 90 characters if you give some thought to your copy. Lots of unnecessary text here, like: telling people it’s a comp, sometimes ‘Win!’ is just as effective, no matter what translation; no need to reference the book, it’s already clear in the image; instead of all that text, you could simply state: ‘Fill in the blank’.
  • RE: the link: instead of sending people to an online item (which may be a ploy to sell the book, and if that, great), send them in-store to go find the clue there. Much better execution and drives feet to the store.   The link is also a shortened link, which poses a problem with trust. People want to know where they are going. The item link on the website isn’t that long that it couldn’t have been used. If it was used for tracking, you can also track links using Google Analytics and keep your original URL.
  • The call to action is sending your answer via email, which misses the point of posting this on Facebook. The comments people leave gives your post the much needed points to increase exposure. Not just of your post/comp, but also your page.
  • I’m also wondering if they used the ‘Promoted Post’ function, because this post didn’t get close to the traction it was supposed to.
  • When it comes to the image, a little more effort could have gone into the image. Some things that come to mind is making the book a 3D rendering of the image, placing the image on a classy background, perhaps with ribbons etc. Remember, if you want your fans to make an effort, you have to make an effort too.

Lets look at their Twitter account.

Let’s not discuss their Youtube channel, which is greatly underutilized in the sense that they don’t have any views or comments to speak of. This tweet has great potential, as it promotes a new album and it’s release date. Appropriate use of hashtags and proper links are posted.

This is a fairly decent post, feeling compelled to mention that their account is largely ‘push’ instead of pull and providing value to their audience. No engagement and interactions. They also make the mistake of not being native to the platform. Everything you do has to be designed and geared to the platform your working on.

What could be better is this:

  • They link out to a Youtube video, which in turn has the pre-order link in the description. Instead, they could have embedded the video into Twitter (yes, it’s possible) and linked to the pre order form on their website from Twitter.
  • There’s also a lot of opportunity for engagement with their followers. How about asking the opinion of your followers on the song. It must be good, otherwise, what’s the use of doing pre orders on it? Engagement gives you the opportunity to increase your followers, get retweeted and favorited.

If someone knows the marketing guys or platform managers of CUM Books, have them call me at 084 8644 618 if I can help in any way.

Those are the ones I have time for in this post. I may look at one or two more and update this post later in the week.

Bonus!

What I suggest for all of these brands.

  • Use a free ebook, vouchers or something else of value to build an email list. This could then be leveraged later on to promote more of their content and store promotions.
  • Get active early. A lot of social platforms haven’t started yet.
  • Remove your old Christmas branding. It’s 14 January.
  • Create content and copy native to (specially designed) for the platform you want to post it on.

Offer.

If you’re a South African brand and would like me to help you with your social media and online platforms, please contact my office at 011 395 2864 or my cell at 084 8644 618 so we can arrange a meet, either face-to-face or Skype. If you’re NOT a big brand , I would be available of critiquing your online platform and giving you pointers on how you can better it.

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Well, it’s simple. 50 ways businesses (big or small) can use social media. A list of 50 great actionable ideas to increase your social media game.

50 free social media for business tips.

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Your turn.

Did I miss something? Do you have any ideas of how some of these posts could have been done better?  Do you have any business classifications or brands you’d like me to take a look at. Weigh in the comment section below, because I love your feedback!

Image courtesy of Stuff.co.nz

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