Using Social Media to Deepen Customer Relations

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An obvious win for companies looking to jump into Social Media is in the Customer Support area. As more and more customers voice their opinions online, the choice is not if you should be responding using Social Media, but when are you going to start responding!

I recently saw figures from Josh Bernoff of Forrester Research that showed 92% of BtoB Technology buyers consider themselves engaging in some form of Social Media. If that isn’t a wake up call for Technology Companies, I don’t know what is!

So with numbers like that ensuring that your buyers are out there, then building a business case around Social Media to provide customer support becomes a lot easier. But what isn’t as widely understood is the “soft” benefits of reaching out to a customer in the virtual location and in the manner which the customer desires: it makes them feel empowered that the brand is listening, that the brand understands and cares about their preferences enough to interact with them the way in which they desire.

Today’s customer support through Contact Centers typically feels anonymous. When was the last time you had a truly personal interaction with a Contact Center employee? This is the reason that customers feel a lack of intimacy with the Contact Center.

So why wouldn’t you take every opportunity for your brand to build better and deeper relations with every customer you can using Social Media for Customer Support?

12 comments to Using Social Media to Deepen Customer Relations

  • Emmanuel Gonot

    I used to work for an AT&T call center and, as you pointed out, customers feel a "lack of intimacy" with these contact centers. There's a tremendous opportunity for companies in engaging customers and developing brand loyalty, using social media. Smaller, more flexible companies, are already doing it. A few big ones are getting their feet wet, and are discovering the enormous reward using this channel for customer engagement.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Emmanuel – Thanks for confirming what I was thinking – we are doing the same at Avaya and it is really exciting to hear the responses and interact with real customers.

    its a big change for marketing but a needed one

  • Tracey

    Hi Paul,
    The author of the Logic+Emotion blog had an interesting post today – http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/2009/08/smtop.html. I'd be interested in hearing your reaction. I don't think that what he says contradicts your position on social media, but it does underscore the importance of quality, and a company really wanting to engage with its customers vs. slapping up a Facebook page. Anyway, I thought you'd have an interesting take on it.

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Tracey – I have a deep respect for David Armano and this post is very provocative in many ways.

    For me it just underscores the fact that we are at the very early stages of Social and we have a long road ahead – these are great anecdotes to keep in mind so you dont fall into these traps

    thats my 02 cents

  • Victor Kippes

    Paul,
    I couldn't agree more and am in the process of deploying our own blog and leverage twitter, facebook etc. as outposts. This is a new channel for us and today I am working on ownership and accountability. We were pinged last week and failed to respond. Need to think to this through. Your a great resource. Thanks.

  • Unified-View

    Paul,

    My interest in social media for customer contact is from a "unified communications" perspective, where voice conversations are becoming less important for interactions with people who are not easily available for a real-time connection.

    The power of short text messages, that are immediately deliverable, and can contain links to other information as well as options for "click-to-talk," is a practical way to go for all types of business users (including customers), whether they are contact initiators, recipients, or respondents.

    The interesting part is that automated business process applications can also use the social network technology as either a contact initiator or a recipient. This would fit in well with the emerging role of CEBP (Communications Enabled Business Processes). Coupled with increasing consumer mobility and use of "smart-phones," CEBP and social networking contacts should explode effective customer interactions.

    Art Rosenberg
    The Unified-View

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Victor – keep up the good work!

  • Paul Dunay

    @ Art (Unifed View) – Art we think alike on this issue CEBP and Twitter can have a lot in common for the business user – combined with other aspects of presence (from a UC point of view) and that my friend could be a new killer ap!

  • I remember getting a complaint e-mail from a customer stating that she wanted to speak to a ‘real human’ because the tech support from our homepage wasn’t giving her any answers she needed. After getting into contact with her through social media, she felt like she was pampered! Social media has revolutionized the way businesses interact with customers.

  • @Kristen – I couldn’t agree more – I personally touch dozens of customers each week with social media and there is this WOW factor that exists in having heard them and reacted quickly – and your right once you resolve their issue they feel pampered!

  • [...] Using Social Media to Deepen Customer Relations An obvious win for companies looking to jump into Social… [...]

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