Over the last few years I have enjoyed following the explosion of social media strategy into the business environment. If you take a minute to look at your own professional network, I'd venture to guess that for most of you, over half of your network have some involvement in social media. Many companies see social media as a new channel to bolster marketing efforts and even a way to help with improving customer service.
The metrics behind some of the sites are too huge to ignore, 500 million active Facebook users, 140 million tweets each day. Businesses are rightly seeing the ability to reach out to their customers through a new channel and are jumping on board hoping that this will help them with improving customer service.
Here are 5 common mistakes companies make when throwing themselves into the fast moving social media world.
- Too much Too Fast - Companies need to make sure that they have the resources to be able to support a social media program aimed at customer satisfaction. All too often companies are overwhelmed at how quickly their customers adopt social media. To ensure a speedy and helpful response to a request, have a devoted staff that have been trained to provide support.
- Attempting to solve in hostile territory - Use your home field advantage. Once a customer relays an issue they are having, refer them to a channel that allows you to efficiently solve the problem. As you can guess, a conversation limited to 140 character responses is not ideal. Give the specific user a specialized email address or phone number for immediate help.
- No sense of urgency - Realize that customers are using this new channel because something about the other channels might be broken or too slow. They are looking for support and have Veruca Salt syndrome, "But I want it NOW..." If you acknowledged their request for support you better provide them support and do it quickly. Nothing pushes a customer away faster than telling them you're helping only to be forgotten.
- Think they can "Turn it off" at anytime - Once you flip the switch to "On" there is no way to turn it off. Customers are going to adopt this channel and expect it to stay open. They will become accustomed to this additional customer service and if it were to go away the customers may as well. Be prepared to make this part of your business long term, there is no going back.
- Think its going to be easy - 140 Characters at a time? Updates on Facebook? No problem right? It starts to add up. Know what you're getting yourself into and be prepared to invest your time into the process. Just creating the accounts is the easy part, its the maintenance and care that you have to put into it that makes it difficult.
If you think about it, throwing your company into social media before its fully prepared is like jumping into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. I think some companies are starting to find themselves under water and their customer satisfaction is suffering because of it.