Social media is increasingly used by small-business owners as a marketing channel. But beyond promoting our wares, social media can be a useful tool for providing customer service.
DMG Consulting found that 67 percent of enterprises are using social media in a manner that includes some form of customer service. The study drilled down to specific usage purposes, finding that most companies are using social media as a branding and crisis-management tool. However, many are also using it for informal product testing, to monitor networks to spot common product and operation issues and to identify other customer service concerns.
Facebook and Twitter
Some small businesses wholly embrace social media as a customer communication tool. Trish Sweeney of Topcor, the company that makes Clipa, a purse hanger which doubles as a bracelet, says her company has used social media for customer service since its inception in 2009.
Customers ask product-related questions via Facebook and Twitter, inquire about product availability and get help with placing orders. "Although we also get phone calls and e-mails, our fans and followers know we're available this way as well, so they just post questions on our wall," Sweeney says.
Earn Your Customers' Loyalty
Simon Tam of The Slants, a touring performing arts group, advocates the use of social media to offer the unexpected and generate customer loyalty. After seeing a post from someone whose car was broken into and CDs were stolen, Tam immediately made contact with the poster and offered digital versions of all the stolen music for free.
The fan, of course, was pleasantly surprised by the gesture, earning The Slants immediate lifetime fan loyalty. The icing on the cake, however, was that he shared the story with all his friends and contacts, giving the group a positive word-of-mouth marketing boost.