Most businesses have a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to social-media marketing. After all, they want prospects! It’s all about sales! So they push their product or service, send out every press release they can and almost every post they make is about them. This is a sure-fire, push-them-away formula for failure. However, if you WANT to make it all about your company, one way to kill three birds with one stone is to do a customer-service strategy, instead.
A customer-service approach to social media will deliver three benefits:
1. Lower your administrative costs
2. Provide customer service in plain view, which is great PR
3. Generate leads and increase sales
Let’s take a look how this would happen.
Lowering Your Administrative Costs
As your company grows, it will learn that the after-sales service is the most important aspect of the sales cycle. It will retain happy customers and happy customers will bring NEW customers. However, this often means more phones, more people to answer the phones, more computers, repeated issues to handle (because the previous customer does not know the next customer, to tell him or her how to rectify the same problem). It all adds to higher costs and a lower bottom line.
However, if you had a customer-service social-media presence, you could handle issues in plain view. Imagine being able to list the top 5 or 10 issues/misunderstandings with links to your website where they can download bug fixes, whitepapers with step-by-step instructions, tutorials, videos, etc. This would drive traffic to your website, adds value, helps SEO and then your well-designed site will pull them in to other offerings you have.
This would mean fewer employees answering phones and the infrastructure needed to support them. You can either hire fewer people or use them to raise productivity in other areas of operation.
Lenovo uses this strategy and in an article in Forrester titled, Case Study #2: How Lenovo Implemented Customer Service Social Media Best Practices, it states:
“This alignment lead to a 20% decrease in laptop service call volumes, an increase in customer service agent productivity, a shortened product problem-resolution cycle and an increase their Net Promoter Scores. The net-net is.. a reduction in customer service support costs and an increase in sales!”
Great Public Relations
Now that you have your client’s attention, they are not only getting the answers they need for a satisfying experience; but others who don’t need an answer are seeing how you care for your customers, interact with them and that many of the issues are NOT faulty products, but unknowledgeable end users. This not only elevates your product’s value, but your image as well.
Generating Leads and Increasing Sales
Keep in mind that those looking from the outside in, seeing your interactions and caring service are your future customers! One of the biggest reasons people buy from any given company is trust and credibility. Either trust in you, or someone they trust who recommended you.
Well, do you think if they are in the market for your product, after seeing how you wonderfully handled other customers, made resources available and even notified them of upcoming releases that they would not feel comfortable buying from you? Of course they would! Moreover, it would shorten the sales cycle, because they will have come to understand your product and service, and you will have built a trust factor that leaves only two concerns to handle: price and availability – and maybe color.
Now this doesn’t mean you don’t have to blog. Your blog will further increase your messages clarity and reach. After all, your customers know others who have the same needs; hence if one has an issue and your blog answers it, they will typically forward your blog to them and you have now been referred. So keep the blog going and make it entertaining, helpful and informative – the social-media trifecta magnet!
Oh, and one last thing, make sure your website is ready for prime-time. Nothing will kill this strategy faster than a website that is ugly or ill designed for a pleasing customer experience. Remember, they’re not getting the resources in social media, they’re being redirected to your website FROM social media. So make sure when they get there that they will want to stay awhile.