Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Social Media: If You Build It, Will They Come?

Bill Schrader is credited with saying, "Almost overnight, the Internet's gone from a technical wonder to a business must." 

During the last two years, businesses of all sizes and categories have come to the realization that social media is no longer something they can choose to engage in, having a social media presence is a requirement. As Facebook and Twitter begin to play a bigger part in the consumer experience, it's important that businesses understand how it can affect their business.

It wasn't very long ago that your customer's comments and complaints were limited to reviews on websites. In today's world, social media reaches far beyond the website into 'real time' customer experience. So how can a company use social media effectively to improve customer service? 

Why Should I Care?

The most important thing social media can do for a company is to allow you to monitor what's being said about your product and customer service. 

Social media sites create an environment for a business to engage in an open conversation. When a customer has left a comment on your Facebook page about a positive experience or encounter, take the time to thank them. Customers prefer to interact with a company that shows it is concerned and takes time to acknowledge a compliment.

Likewise, if someone tweeted about a problem with your products or service, your response may involve sending a direct message to the customer as well as a reply for others to see that you have read the comment, are concerned enough to continue the conversation in an effort to resolve the issue.

Using social media successfully will require effectively listening and engaging with your customers but goes beyond seeing what is being said about you and your services. It will allow you to better anticipate your customer's needs.

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