Thanks to social media,customers have a voice like never before

June 30, 2012

This week I’ve been dealing with several clients of and one thing that I managed to get was that their customers are twice powerful than they were three years. In the past, when clients wanted to discuss a product or service, they’d dial a call centre and their problem would be addressed behind closed doors. Only the client and the company would hear the complaint or praise. Now these issues are aired publicly to potentially huge audiences of potential buyers.Today, a single client complaint from someone with influence can have more impact on company’s reputation than best marketing.Companies globally have quickly recognized what customers are saying online couldn’t be ignored and have began taking immediate steps to engage directly with them on forums and across social media channels.Social media has became a core part of any business functions and customer service, and it is clear that providing support for customers in the digital realm need to be a vital element of their social strategy.

Some clients I spoke to have after the launch of such, seen a significant decline in negative commentary about their products and services.This is a proof that the ability to listen and respond instantly is a smart investment in any company’s future and a way to continually improve both business and customer relations.They are also able to listen to what customers are saying, to react to feedback more quickly and efficiently, and to gain a greater understanding of your customers’ needs and wants.Having embraced social media since its inception, I have no doubt that it offers a unique opportunity to reach audience What’s more, social media conversations can serve as an early warning system for issues that arise around company’s products and services.I would advise any company strategist reading this to choose the right medium for demographic before creating a forum for customer support, evaluate target market to determine which social media channels are most likely to reach them.Support forums and discussion boards can offer a great way to offer solutions to the masses and connect customers with both your company’s experts and customers and supporters that are experts.

Twitter has a huge volume of 140 characters or less comments, and thus tons of opportunity for you to engage 1×1 with people talking about your brand, products, or services. Social networking platforms like Facebook also offer great opportunities to connect with your community members. Your customers are already choosing their platform of choice, and it’s important to meet your customers where they play.Personalization is key when engaging with customers, it’s important to connect with them on a personal level. People respond to people, so brands can lose credibility quickly if your communication appears to be coming from a robot.It’s a group effort because providing customer support through social media requires collaboration between customer service, marketing and product development to address an array of different problems.In order to respond effectively to issues via social media, it’s important that your customer service team is trained on your company’s brand messaging and your overarching customer experience strategy.

If responses aren’t in line with your brand’s wider goals, it may create confusion and could impact customer satisfaction and retention.A company should use social media as a supplement, not a replacement because whether we like it or not Social media won’t replace conventional support tools and it provides a way for businesses to connect with customers real-time in the places where they’re already having conversations.Keep them updated throughout the process and once the problem is resolved reach out to the customer on the original social channel to ensure that they’re entirely satisfied.This will illustrates that you care about your customers as people and not just about extinguishing negative public commentary on your brand. Customers are finding a voice through social media and using it as a support channel more and more. Tweeting a help request takes fewer steps than sending an e-mail or dialling a support line and can elicit an immediate response.You can see me on social media platforms like Linkedin,Twitter,Facebook,Google plus and Foursquare.

Contador Harrison