- Social Media
- Active Citizenship
- Good Giving
- Corporate Responsibility
- Be Fearless
Just as the internet has redefined what it means to be a customer, social media is transforming the way we think about customer satisfaction. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow for more efficient and often more personalized interactions between businesses and the customers they serve.
For advice on maximizing customer satisfaction in the age of social media, we turn to Justin Thorp of Clearspring, the largest content sharing platform online. In his position as Community Manager and “Director of Customer Happiness,” Justin thinks of himself as a steward of relationships. He engages with users and clients both virtually and in person, focusing on communication that simultaneously promotes customer satisfaction and produces better business results.
While Justin uses social media to connect and communicate with customers, he does not consider himself a “Director of Social Media,” a title that emphasizes the tools rather than the relationships those tools can facilitate. He offers the analogy of a kitchen in a restaurant—there is no “Director of Knives,” but rather, a chef who uses the knives.
Justin shared these insights at an event hosted by Sweets and Tweets called “Moving the Needle as Director of Customer Happiness.” He offered the following recommendations, based on his experience:
- Remember that your primary focus is to communicate with people. When using social media to connect with customers (or supporters/donors, in the case of non-profits), don’t let the tool limit how you achieve this primary goal of communication. Think about your interaction as one person talking to another.
- Interact face-to-face as well as online. Also, remember to use the phone and email—Facebook and Twitter are great, but other methods of communication might work best in some cases.
- Use social media to listen as well as talk— then use what you hear to take action, evolve, and improve. Close the loop by letting customers and supporters know that you appreciate their feedback and are using it constructively.
- Embrace criticism. Don't shy away from social media for fear of being criticized.
- Think about customer service as an opportunity rather than an obligation. The people you serve are an invaluable resource—not only as consumers or donors, but also as champions of your company or organization.
It appears that Clearspring is not the only company to embrace customer service through social media. As Mashable reported, companies like Comcast, Dell, Southwest Airlines, Ford, and Starbucks effectively use Twitter to simultaneously assist customers and promote their brands. Jeremiah Owyang also blogged about the evolution of customer service from traditional call centers to social media support hubs. This year, Gatorade launched its Mission Control Center to communicate with customers via social media channels, and Dell has announced plans for their own Social Media Listening Command Center.
What’s your opinion about social media as a platform for customer service and relationship-building? When using social media, what do you think companies and organizations should focus on?
Guest blogger Lauren Scherr is an intern at the Case Foundation.
Disclaimer: Revolution LLC is an investor in Clearspring.