Tag Archives: Customer Service

Social Media and Customer Service

socialmedia_customersupport

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:

  1. 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”
  2. 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.
  3. 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

PRMeetsMarketing Weekly Articles: November 29, 2007

Here is this week’s of interesting articles. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed: 

The Blog Bubble? – R. Scott Raynovich of Light Reading has an interesting post on Internet Revolution. Raynovich believes that there will be a crash in blogs in terms of how one can make money and continue drawing an audience. If he’s correct, then those blogs that provide truly interesting content and insight will continue to stay above the noise. I think we may also see the rise of more blog-lomerates (blogging conglomerates) list GigaOm, TechCrunch, VentureBeat and others.

What Millennials Don’t Know – Advertising Age highlights ten marketing myths and their implications for marketers.  Sorry Mellennials, the world doesn’t revolve around you! 

Hallelujah – The Truth About PR “Relationships” – I read a few PR agency blogs and inmedia is one of the best. In a recent post, inmedia highlight the myth about media relationships resulting in media coverage. As the post concludes: Bottom line: The only thing that has any currency in a newsroom, the only thing any journalist cares about, is the news value of the story. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t understand the news business  

Marketing In is Better Than Out – Brian Hulligan of HubSpot wrote this interesting post about how company websites can become better “hubs” for industry information. In this way, your prospective customers can better find you on search engines, blogs and social networks.  

Spammers Get Sneaky – I had paid scant attention to what seems to be a security hole in WordPress. Wired highlighted a recent sneak attack on Al Gore’s website. I’m assuming this doesn’t impact the freely hosted WordPress, right? 

Consumer Stats for Pitching – MediaPost’s Online Spin blog summarized some interesting data points that were published in Time magazine. Great fodder for those 2008 pitches or for those guys prepping for CES already! 

More SEO Tips for Press Releases – Lee Odden of Online Marketing Blog has some useful tips for press release optimization. Lee has advice from some of the leading press release wires. Also check out my previous post about how to select keywords for your press release.    

Oh My – You Can Be Fired for CARING Too Much – I’ve just started reading Alec Saunders’ blog. Alec usually covers VoIP and VON related issues, but occasionally brings up issues in his native Canada. This recent post about a customer service rep who is concerned about being fired because she spends time with customers. Sorry Sears, you’re getting the “I Hate Customers” award.    

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PRMeetsMarketing Weekly Articles: November 21, 2007

Turkey

Here is this week’s of interesting articles. Have a great Thanksgiving. Yum Yum, I can taste them giblets now! =) You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues or subscribe to the Weekly Articles Feed:

The Power of 150… or Not? – Mack Collier of Viral Garden brings up a good point of how AdAge is leveraging the Power of 150 list. Maybe it’s a case of another company not understanding the full power of social media? 
<What do Tulip History and Web 2.0 Have in Common? – Check out this humorous history lesson from mrontemp blog. Thankfully, I don’t like flowers – my lucky husband!

Going Deep into the Blogosphere – David Meerman Scott highlights an interesting site – DeepBlog.com – for finding popular blogs in certain niches 

Astroturf Can Burn Baby –  John Blossom of Shore Communications writes about PR agencies still working their way around social media. He highlights the issue of “astroturfing” – pretending to be a satisfied customer when posting online. My perspective – learning about social media is no longer an excuse for doing one’s homework and understanding the rules of the road. 

Lessons on Customer Service – Jeremiah of Web Strategy put up an amusing post about his experience with Real, Delta Airlines and PeopleSoft. Sometimes, it’s good to pay attention to what is being said about your brand online. Kudos to Real for responding so quickly.  Now only if Jeremiah can help me with Citibank’s stupid emails – read my rants here, here and here. Jeremiah also retells a story about his Uncle Ted’s experience working with prospects. You never know who will become your best customers.  

And When Negative is a Positive – Marketing Pilgrim provides an interesting perspective on the power of negative reviews. They demonstrate that your customers care enough to write a negative review and can even provide good competitive intelligence on competitors. 

PR’s New Tools – This article comes courtesy of the Marketing Profs Daily Fix. Looks at how multimedia can enhance your PR program. All good advice – so who’s going to do all of this work! =) 

SMRs for New PR? – Lena West of InfoWorld highlights the pros and cons of the social media release. And in her wise words, “And remember, no amount of ‘social media-ization’ can make a news release exciting. A crappy news release is still a crappy news release.”  

Technorati Tags: Astroturfing  Weekly Articles

PRMeetsMarketing Weekly Articles: November 15, 2007

My apologies – I am having the damndest time getting the links to work. You can click on the Weekly Articles tag for previous issues:

Share and Share Alike – Todd Defren of PR-Squared brings up a good point that sharing information is integral part of social media.

Best Buy and Customer Service in the Same Sentence? – MarketingPilgrim writes about a good customer experience. The tons of comments seems to indicate that the typical experience is less than stellar. But who knows, maybe Best Buy will start with business customers, which may slowly invade the in-store experience… Nahhh – I was just kidding!

Where’s the Short Cut to Timbuktu – inmedia Public Relations Blog has an interesting post about media list building. As I’ve said before, don’t rely solely on the media databases. Augment the research by reading the publications online or in print. 

LinkedIn for the Unconnected? – CenterNetworks posted this article by Drama 2.0 regarding the value of social networks, specifically LinkedIn. Interesting piece about the value of social networks and who’s truly participating.

You’re Invited But… – Robert Scoble has an interesting point about attending the Google announcement of Android. When looking at early adopters and tech geeks, I think blogs like Scobleizer and TechCrunch should be given equal weight with the “big guys.” It’s about knowing your influencers…

Google’s PR comes across as “only caring about big bangs.” Last week I was in the Open Social press conference. Everyone else in the room worked for a big-name media outlet. Business Week. Wall Street Journal. Los Angeles Times. CNET. Barrons. etc. etc. Even TechCrunch was relegated to a phone-based seat and wasn’t in the room. That tells me that Google’s PR doesn’t get the value of small people. In fact, if you were tracking the mentions of that press call you’d have seen my use of Twitter during it got mentioned many times on blogs. Google’s PR didn’t seem to even understand why Twitter was important. They also kept me from using my video camera during the press call (the only reason I got video is cause I carried a cell phone with me — they asked me to leave my professional camera out in the car). Compare that to presidential candidate John Edwards who let me film, even on his plane during “off times.” And he has a Twitter account too. 

Listen to Me Now! – Paul Dunay posted an interesting podcast between Jim Nail, chief strategy and marketing officer at Cymfony, and Pete Blackshaw, executive vice president at Nielsen Online Strategic Services. Jim and Pete discuss what conversational marketing truly is – it’s more than just surveying people or putting up a blog. It’s about how to “engage” and “sustain” conversation beyond just the dollars and cents. 

Being Social Does Help – I’ve gotten to know Tom Pick through his blog and he consistently provides actionable counsel for B2B marketing. In this most recent post, he outlines his experience with social tagging. I’ve used some of his tips for my personal blog and I’ve seen some modest results as well. And if you’ve wondered about the effectiveness of social media, check out this post from Mack Collier of The Viral Garden.

To Be Ethical Or Not is the Question – Shel Horowitz authored a guest post on the IAOCblog about a Blogger Code of Ethics. Hmmm, what disclosures should I be making now?? =P

Technorati Tags: Best Buy, blog ethics, conversational marketing, Customer Service, inmedia, media lists, LinkedIn, Paul Dunay, press conference, Scoble, social media, social networks, tagging, Todd Defren