Customer engagement, while the goal of many companies today, isn’t one of those things there is a single path to achieving. What works for one company may not work for another, and customer needs vary greatly by demographic, industry and product and services offered.
All organizations, to some degree, are finding challenges today in the number of possible channels they can offer their customers. The line between customer service and marketing has blurred, and it’s social media we have to thank for this. A social media post by a customer may be a request for help, but it’s also an opportunity to set a good precedent, impress a customer and induce that customer to share a good experience with friends.
This is critical in light of the fact that it costs far more to try to replace a customer than it is to keep an existing one happy in the first place. Social media becomes an important tool in keeping customers: keeping them engaged, keeping them passing a long good word of mouth and keeping them buying your products or services.
According to a recent blog post by Dan Newman writing for Entrepreneur, businesses need to ramp up their customer-service game, but they should be accomplishing this not only by meeting expectations. They need to provide the ability to interact, engage and provide superb customer service in real time on social media.
“In a survey conducted by research group Loyalty 360 (News - Alert), more than 25 percent of businesses indicated they ranked social media as the most effective channel for customer retention,” wrote Newman. “The main reason being is social-media marketing allows for brands to speak directly to customers (and attract new ones), along with easy access to companies. Unfortunately, not every company has caught the social-media bug. Approximately 70 percent of customer-service complaints made on Twitter (News - Alert) go unanswered, according to a study conducted by Maritz and evolve24.”
What seems clear is that more companies need to recognize the value that social media can bring to their organizations. But even more fundamental than that, more companies need to recognize that social media isn’t a passing phase, and that wishing won’t make it go away. Customers have embraced it, and companies that haven’t also embraced it are at risk of being left behind.
Newman outlines some of the many benefits a robust social media engagement program can bring to a company, including building trust, keeping customers up-to-date, gaining valuable, real-time customer feedback to stay relevant, engaging with customers on their terms and simply being there.
In other words, that famous old infomercial marketing mantra, “Set it and forget it!” cannot apply to customer service in the twenty-first century. Customer engagement via social media is an ongoing process that is never done. The upside is that the benefits and opportunities a company can reap from it are also never done.
Edited by Rory J. Thompson