Customer service is also becoming one of the best ways to stand out above your competition. By providing a quick and strong customer service you can make your customers love doing business with you and maybe even talking about you on Social Media to tell their friends about how great you are.
The first thing that people do when they have a fantastic service experience (or a bad one) is to tweet or blog about it. As a business owner, real time data is readily available to you and you can harness this information to create positive and rewarding customer experiences.
Set up some keyword alerts in Google Alerts (you will need a google account) and start tracking when your company, product or brand name is used online. This will start to give you a picture of how active your brand is online.
It is also advisable to use a free social media monitoring tool such as Social Mention which will track more uses or mentions of you and your products / services.
Partner with your customers
Knowing how to use digital tools effectively can allow you to build lasting relationships with your customers and drive up your consumer loyalty quotient. As a start-up, you should build a common online platform for your customers where you can interact, share ideas and receive feedback in a constructive ways.
Your platform can be as simple as a dedicated Facebook page or a fully functional website (you can check out Sunsilk’s website as an example). Either way, you are keeping communication channels open.
Also, plan to give valuable information away for free. What expertise do you have that you can give away on social media to show your expertise? This way you not only build up your reputation online but also become a magnet for people who need what you have!
Talking of online reputation, it is also worth setting up a Klout account and seeing how what social currency you have. You can see our CMO, Spencer Walron’s Klout profile here as an example.
Faster response channels
When you hear of complaints on your social media page, make sure that you acknowledge the complaints in a 24 hour time frame. The actual resolution might come later but the acknowledgement will boost the customer’s confidence.
It’s also easier for the customer to connect with you through social networking channels than use traditional methods like call centers. You will be able to create a win-win situation where the business benefits from faster responsiveness and the customer benefits by quicker problem resolution.
You can partner with professional bloggers and customers who are active on social media in a way that will help you to enhance your service model. Look out for people who are active in voicing their opinions and can give balanced ideas and constructive criticism.
Social media sites offer the chance for businesses to bring demanding customers into their service improvement cycle. As a business owner, you have to understand that the more demanding the customer is, the more helpful he can be in giving feedback.
Indian small businesses are relationship centric. As an entrepreneur, you have to create ways of holding on to a loyal base of customers apart from attracting new ones. Keep a track of the birthdays, anniversaries and important events of your steady customers through social networking platforms and then send out small token gifts. These gestures will cost you next to nothing but are sure to up your loyalty quotient. Zoostr helps you do this. When you set up a customer profile on Zoostr you can add their birthday, as well as send them an SMS via Zoostr on their birthday.
Invite your customers to earn loyalty points through an online forum by posting discount codes that you give out with every purchase. In fact a simple gesture like giving out free bonus points when customers like your Facebook page will help you gain wider exposure to their circle of friends.
You can even post photos of customer meets, events and photographs of winners of promotional content on your Pinterest board and dedicated Facebook page. Social media networks are the best friends of every modern Indian entrepreneur provided you know how to use them well.
At the end of the day, you can no longer ignore Social Media. You have to be active as you can bet that your customers will be. If you are going to take Customer Service seriously then you need to be on Social Media. However, that said, start small. Choose a platform where you know your customers / potential customer’s hangout. Start there. But monitor everything and respond when you see your brand, product or service being spoken about.