Have you avoided social media in your business so far? Have you played with some social media tools, but you aren’t sure what to do with them? Why not focus your social media efforts around improving customer service?
Let’s explore four simple ways you can do that, by integrating social media into your customer relationship management.
1. Launch a company blog.
A company blog gives you somewhere to share news and special offers directly with your customers. And it gives customers a reason to keep coming back to your website (rather than solely connecting with them through third party social media sites). Even more important, a company blog lets you gather direct feedback from those customers. Public relations and market research combine.
2. Read (and respond to) customer blog comments.
Having a company blog isn’t enough. So this is worth repeating — you have to use that blog to listen to customers’ feedback. Better yet, respond to as many customers as possible. Let them know that you aren’t just there to feed them news. You’re there to listen and you actually care about their complaints, questions, and suggestions.
3. Offer special discounts or advanced news to social media followers.
One way to endear yourself to customers is to give them special coupon codes or discounts just for connecting with you on your preferred social media site. They get something out of the relationship, and you can entice them to give you repeat business.
4. Have a dedicated social media monitor authorized to respond to customer feedback or questions.
Ideally you’ll monitor your own social media accounts. People want to know someone has authority to act on the promises they make. If you can’t do this yourself, assign social media management to one individual in the company, and grant them a reasonable amount of authority to act (such as being able to fix a problem a customer brings up on a social media site — like a billing error). Too many voices could lead to customers getting misinformation, such as one employee telling someone they won’t get a special exception to a rule only to have a second person undermine them and do just that. If you must have multiple social media managers, come up with a set of guidelines they need to follow so everyone stays on the same page.
How else can business owners use social media to improve customer service? Share your own tips in the comments.
This post was originally shared on October 11, 2012.