Sunday, June 5, 2011

Social Media is Customer Service - Do What You Say

For any business owner, business development is personal. Whether you have a BD department, or pay someone to do your marketing, ultimately you reap the rewards and it's you who cleans up the mess.

Communicating with people always leaves openings for misunderstandings. Today we'll touch on a few key points to help keep customer communications smooth.

1) Keep Everyone Informed

From the Head of Business Development right down to the kid who comes in three times a week to help re-stock, it is critical that everyone in your organization is on board with development processes, tools, tactics and campaigns. Imagine the potential cost to you if the kid who stocks is headed out the door, and meets a family of five who asks him, "Is this the week when children's shoes are half price?" and he has no idea that the sale is going on. "Uh, no...?" he replies and that family walks away.

This is the same scenario when your Foursquare account tells customers that they get a free appetizer for checking in, but the wait staff has never heard of any such thing.

When companies get a bit larger, it becomes easy to send out memos about critical tactics and assume that they have been read and understood. To avoid gaffes of miscommunication, make it a priority to communicate that today is special, everyone in the company.

2) Be Prepared to Fulfill

Companies that do a lot of promotional campaigns are used to customers walking in with a variety of coupons that may or may not be mixed and matched. When your company offers a deal through Social Media, be prepared to carry through with exceptional service and the deal as described. Even if it's not what you usually do.

3) Don't "Explain," Communicate

When you get on Facebook, are you ready to hear what customers have to say, or are you closing off the Wall, so you can stay blissfully unaware?

Explaining *why* a situation get ugly, or a customer was denied isn't half as powerful a business development tool as making sure the customer gets what they were promised.

The better your communication lines are - responding to general inquiries, knowing what people are saying and not covering your Social Media ears when problems arise, the better you can learn from one BD tactic to another.

Listen to what you employees and customers are saying, then follow up with both. Don't leave employees dangling, don't leave customers unhappy.

Do What You Say and Say What You Do to effectively maximize your Customer Service and Social Media.
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