Enterprise has been bitten. Big brands have "gone social." They have felt the do-or-die pressure to stay forward-thinking. But massively high adoption rates does not mean they are doing it right. Sadly, most enterprises are doing it wrong.
The problem: Execs and marketing strategists have held onto their traditional marketing and PR roots, and are struggling to gain control of their reputation online. They plaster the social web with carefully crafted advertising and promotion, but few are actually engaging their customer in any real, transparent dialog.
- More than 70% of tweets to companies go unanswered.
- 5% of Facebook wall posts on brand pages ever receive a reply.
- 71% of tweeters don't get an answer after posting a complaint.
Brands, your reputation doesn't belong to you. It belongs to the customers, who have an infinite number of ways to talk about your brand. NEWSFLASH: Consumers are relying less on your frustrating call centers and slow email responses, and are turning to the social web as a way to find information, complain, or (gasp) express their enthusiasm about your brand.
If your customer service strategy doesn't begin with social media in mind, then you risk failure.
- 17% of customers have used social media in the past year to get information. And those who receive great service tell an average of 42 people.
There are a few socially-savvy companies who are making huge strides in this area, but, as a whole, big brands aren't doing much. They view social media as a necessary evil; something that sucks time and resources and has little potential for ROI. As a result, few resources are allocated, channels go dead, and opportunity for engagement slips through the cracks of their almost nonexistent plans and processes.
However, their customers don't see "going social" as a necessary evil. For them, it's a lifestyle. It represents who they are, and their behavior is changing faster than companies are adapting.
Reality check: Social media is NOT JUST A MARKETING VEHICLE. It’s a way of reaching your customers on their terms.
Brands who neglect consistent communication with customers on social media will suffer the same fate as those who failed to answer the phones and respond to emails, or worse. Think about it, silence on the social web could be considerably more harmful than not picking up the phone. This failure is public.
In order to build long, happy relationships with customers, you need to respond. But there are a few things you need to nail down before anyone starts yammering.
First step: Don't respond, yet.
Put serious thought toward the people, processes and plans in place for responding to questions/complaints. Brace yourself: This will require a change of mindset, job descriptions and even business processes. Your consumer's behavior is changing. If you're not, then you'll be left in the dust.
In the digital world, everything is public and shareable. Before anyone starts typing, it's important that you train your team, set social media guidelines, and help grow a positive social culture.
A little forethought will keep your enterprise from missing a beat. Begin with a social media organizational chart that outlines how conversation should be routed within the organization. For example, a comment from a disgruntled customer on Facebook should be routed to a specific sales manager who could resolve the problem. Understand the strengths and expertise of your team members and route messages accordingly. The last thing your brand needs is for an intern with limited knowledge making things worse.
Eliminate unknowns, and have a plan. The first step towards developing a strategy is figuring out who says what, where, and when. Big brands dealing with thousands of posts have a flood of activity to monitor. A solid communication process will help your team identify, prioritize and engage in a timely, effective manner.
Second Step: Collect and analyze data.
Define your success metrics before you roll out a response strategy. While most brand have some presence on social media, only 23 percent of those collect and analyze data.
This means that organizations have no record of social media interactions. What's worse is that they are missing out on valuable insights gathered from those interactions.
Make plans to record significant conversations, identify brand advocates, and monitor frequent engagers. Note inquiries and complaints, and follow up after the fact. A thoughtful response and a sincere thank-you could turn an angry customer in a lifetime advocate.
After all, studies show that those who receive great customer service on social media tell an average of 42 people. And if they publicly endorse you online, then that number doubles.
Prove that you care enough about your patrons to remember them and you’ve got them by the toe. Go a step further and prove that you value our opinions as a loyal customer and you have them by their heart.
Third Step: Engage, respond and Delight.
Tune in on Wednesday for a behind-the-glass look into Warby Parker, and take a queue from a case study about meeting customers where they are.
AUTHOR NOTE: Over the next few months, we’ll be digging into this and other enterprise level topics more and more – addressing components such as: HR, Marketing, Customer Service, etc.