Social media as a customer service channel is now a given.
Customers turn to this method when they are frustrated, and aren’t afraid to air their grievances publicly. 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, according to J.D. Power. Marketers and other business leaders could actually prevent customer service issues by using social media to share more proactively with customers and their communities.
1. Share innovation as it happens.
Instead of hiding behind press releases and formal communication, social media engagement allows organizations to speak directly to customers and prospects.
If there is a particular situation irritating customers on an ongoing basis, announce the behind-the-scenes work before a big launch. Share pictures of teams working on that specific issue. Make short videos for Instagram or Vine explaining the innovations as they happen and the challenges around them.
Yes, there is some risk in releasing information before it is perfect, but the payoff could be fewer complaints, public challenges and unhappy customers.
2. Help customers get to know your leaders.
Many C-Level executives are only seen in glossy magazine articles or posed headshots and bios on the corporate site. Social can help your leadership seem more down-to-earth and in tune with customers.
CEO’s Richard Branson from Virgin and Mary Barra from GM are tweeting both announcements and personal revelations. Even the President of the United States has answered questions directly on Google+ and now as POTUS on Twitter.
[Tweet “Could your leadership benefit from hearing directly from customers? I’d wager yes. -@jeanniecw”]
3. Involve your best customers and community members in pre-launch excitement.
Launching a new product? Share the blueprints with your most dedicated customers in a special video chat or release clues on Instagram. Help your customers see what’s next and feel involved with the brand they love. Another use is to share how special events happen.
A recent example is how Chicago Botanic Gardens created a time lapse video to show off the hard work behind the scenes.
4. Help users find each other and support your brand.
Don’t forget how customers think about your products. It’s a means to an end. They like what the product does for them, how it helps them, or how it makes them feel.
Pinterest is full of incredible boards packed with recipes from brands and customers of blenders, yogurt and dijon mustard! The Home Depot does an exceptional job helping customers on YouTube, with DIY tutorials and resources.
Help your customers get the most out of your products, so they love them even more!
5. Say thank you unexpectedly!
Nothing thrills a devoted customer more than being recognized for loyalty. Customers see that typically it’s just the squeaky wheels that get the attention. When customers and others sing the praises of a brand, it seems the least they could do is say thank you.
Busy social media teams often ignore these mentions completely, or give it a quick “like” or “favorite” and move on. These are the customers who could become advocates and do so much more for the brand.
Warby Parker, the innovative and extremely social eyewear brand, likes to thank fans and customers with short videos on social. It’s personal, fun, unexpected and share-worthy! I received a shout out from Warby Parker after mentioning them in a Twitter chat, even though I’ve never been a customer.
Your customers want proactive, personal service via social media.
Don’t let your brand sink into the pattern of using social media as a reactive channel only. It can serve you and your customers so much more!