Sales & Marketing

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Customer service: Using social media is now essential

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Over the past few years, the rise of social media platforms has provided consumers with more power than ever and many now take to the mass audiences of Facebook and Twitter to share their opinions on a company’s product or customer service performance. 

Indeed, the Institute of Customer Service report that there are 38 million active social media profiles in the UK and one in five social media users have admitted to using a social media channel to communicate with or comment on an organisation.

The increase in online communication has helped to fuel a rise in expectations for service excellence, with consumers increasingly expecting their field service provider to listen to and engage with them immediately over social media or risk damaging their brand reputation. 

For organisations operating a field service operation, customer service is widely recognised as being the number one business priority with a proven link between customer satisfaction, retention and profitability. 

In order to meet customer expectations, the need for businesses to include social media as part of their customer service strategies is therefore becoming increasingly essential.

Organisations are justified in approaching their social media strategy with some caution, however. Numerous high-profile cases have shown that the public nature of social media can bring risks to corporate reputation, if not managed appropriately and consistently as part of a coherent communications strategy.

The strategic importance of social media

A study recently commissioned by Trimble found that 51 per cent of field service organisations think social media is an effective tool for helping them to manage customer relationships. 

However, its function is still misunderstood by a number of field service organisations whilst others aren’t as convinced of the potential upside of an online communications program. The study revealed that 28 per cent of organisations did not know if social media could be an effective tool for helping them to manage customer relationships while 21 per cent regarded it to be ineffective. 

A major reason behind the conflict in opinion lies in how exactly field service organisations leverage social media as part of an online customer service strategy, as there are more effective ways than others to use it for business success. 

Using social media for success 

The Institute of Customer Service confirms that social media presents a great opportunity for organisations to listen to and engage with their customers on a one-to-one level, but organisations must ensure that they can manage and measure customer interactions seamlessly across a multitude of channels, as customers now expect to be able to communicate with field service organisations through a variety of social media sites of their choosing. 

While some organisations are doing a good job at leveraging social media; others are underestimating it and applying the old school approach of ‘marketing at’ customers instead of engaging in conversations that will enhance relationships with them. In order to influence how an organisation is seen by its customers in the social sphere, it must participate in conversations.

Continue reading more about using social media for customer service on page two…

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