Businesses use it not only to connect and engage with their communities and customers but also as a tool to support the customer sales cycle.Gone
are the days when brands or companies could afford to 'talk to' their customers without being prepared to listen in return. Consumers today expect that the brands they support engage in two-way conversations
and that the brand listens and responds appropriately to its customers.
Social media is an ideal platform to achieve this two-way communication, as well as to improve customer service levels. Most consumers prefer not to send an email to a faceless entity and find it frustrating trying to contact a company telephonically.
As a result, they turn to social media where they know
they are likely to get a quicker response. This is why it's so
important that companies brush up on their customer service offering from a social perspective.
In the same way that companies would not turn their back on a customer query or complaint in the physical world, so too should they not ignore a query or complaint online. Customers are the lifeblood of any business, which is why it's critical that brands respond to their queries or complaints timeously and, ideally, within a day.
At the same time, the individuals manning social media queries need to be sufficiently empowered to address and resolve any issue without needing to consult with their superiors, which can slow the resolution phase down.
The COVID-19 crisis has created an ideal opportunity for brands to engage with their consumers through social media. We're seeing a growing number of companies using social media to explain how they are pivoting towards a new customer value proposition such as providing home deliveries.
This is also a good time for brands to show their more human
side. This could be by explaining how they are taking care of their staff during the pandemic or supporting the local economy by procuring from local farmers or suppliers — given the current focus on the country's economic recovery.
If they can illustrate the impact of this local procurement down the value chain, all the better. It's important to remember that first impressions matter. In the same way that businesses ensure a positive in-store experience, these same principles and attention to detail need to be followed for an online experience.
At the same time, content needs to be engaging and add value to the consumer's life. Not only do consumers want more personable
communication, but they also want to be valued
by the brands they support. Brands can no longer be seen to be only taking. Instead, they also need to focus on giving back to their customers.
The bottom line is that social media is no longer simply a nice-to-have but has become an incredibly powerful platform with the ability to drive business objectives and deliver tangible business results.
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