Customer Service is the new Marketing

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Diana Wolff, president of LRG Marketing Communications discusses how customer service can be seen as the new marketing with the increasing importance of social media.

Welcome to the age of public conversation. Today, people share opinions in open forums like social media – and one of the things they talk about is their experiences with brands.

If your customer isn’t happy with the product they’ve purchased or the service they’re getting, often the first thing they do is post about it. They may name or tag your company, and they’re going to judge you by how quickly (and how well) you respond. Their comments will be seen by their community online, who may add thoughts of their own or share the conversation with their followers. We’ve all seen how this kind of situation can go viral and reflect negatively on the brand in a very public way (try googling “United Airlines social media” and you’ll get a vivid snapshot of how this works).

But you can tap into that power, too. By knowing the right steps to take, and prioritizing customer service, you can make public conversation work in your favor. To do this, you first need to understand how to monitor the web for positive or negative mentions of your company. This will give you the opportunity to solve problems, help someone, show appreciation or soothe an angry customer. Make sure to respond to any customer inquiries, concerns or complaints appropriately and demonstrate that you care about their concerns. If there is any kind of problem, take the conversation off the public forum as quickly as possible by redirecting the customer to email or a private message. Most important, don’t ever lose your cool in a public forum. Do it right, and you can turn critics into champions.

Today’s customers have more influence than ever before. With review sites, forums, blogs and social media, they can complain, recommend, praise and generally talk about your business in ways you can’t control. But rather than fighting a losing battle trying to dominate the conversation, try using the power of those channels to listen and respond – and in doing so, to win new customers, advocates and ambassadors for your business.


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