Much is being written today about the relationship between customer service and social media. Online microblogging sites such as Twitter and features on LinkedIn and other networking sites enable any company to instantly know what its customers and potential clients are saying, for better or worse. Social networks are, in effect, a new medium for word-of-mouth marketing.
There’s an opportunity for small businesses to outshine their bigger competitors on social media-based customer service because they can be nimble enough to respond to questions and concerns in a way that’s personal, timely, and directly helpful. But, if you are an entrepreneur or a part of a growing business, you may not be able to hire a person dedicated to answering in-coming customer service issues and to scan popular social networks for customer issues not directly addressed to you. Some ideas to help you make the most of your resources include:
1. Identify the social networks you will search for comments on your company. Twitter and Facebook seem to be obvious choices, but what about YouTube, Flickr, or even on personal blogs? Spend some time thinking about where your customers and potential clients converse online, and then go there.
2. Set aside a specific time of day to search for and begin to resolve these requests. Make sure you do it each day—even on weekends—to ensure requests are handled within 24 hours.
3. Consider integrating customer service requests and issues into your sales and/or marketing processes or look for customer relationship management (CRM) software that offers this feature.
In today’s wired world, understand that people will talk about your company online whether or not you are monitoring the chatter. Any company that ignores social media risks seeming uninterested or, even worse, developing a bad reputation. Speak the language of your customer—including listening and responding to conversations in social media—and watch your reputation for providing stellar customer service bloom and grow.
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