I noticed this series of tweets with Chris Heuer, Social media Club Founder, on Twitter the last couple of days.
Before I continue, I do want to disclose that I was previously employed with the company that Chris is referencing in his tweets. The purpose of this post is to solely highlight the increased use of social media for sales, customer service, and customer feedback.
Now back to where I was headed =) In the past, most of these sales and customer support activities were done out of the public eye either through customer advisory boards, email customers surveys and other communications methods. However, as more potential and current customers seek information from trusted sources, that is our social graph and friend networks, these previously “secret” processes are being brought to the surface.
From a sales perspective, I recently wrote about the pros and cons of using Twitter for sales prospecting. In this case, we are now seeing how one has to be careful with connecting with customers with social media, especially with someone like Chris who has over 10,000 followers. Here are my recommendations for engaging with prospects or customers via social media:
- Acknowledge the Person’s Feedback: In this case, Chris was unhappy with the amount of time it took for a response and when he was finally contacted, the level of understanding for his business. By recognizing these two points, the company would have acknowledged their mistake. As Alli Gerkman wrote recently, “Sometimes ‘Sorry’ is the Best PR”
- Take It Offline: The first tendency is to want to respond via social media to tell your side of the story. While I would have also responded via Twitter back to Chris, my message would be about connecting offline. This way, you demonstrate that you are listening online and being proactive.
- Personalize the Brand: I realize there is a lot of discussion about having a “corporate” brand on Twitter vs personal ones. I strongly believe that a corporation should have a corporate brand. With that said, I have also recognized the value of “personalizing” who is managing the Twitter feed. And so your corporate brand isn’t associated with anyone person, you can say that the marketing team or a couple people are responsible for the Twitter feed. In this case, I am unsure who is responding back to Chris.
These are just a few of my ideas – what do you think?
UPDATE: The company subsequently sent a tweet to Chris apologizing with a plan to call him today.
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Using Social Media for Customer Support – three things to consider by @csalomonlee: http://bit.ly/UnRQs