Customer service essential: digital strategy
How does social media affect customer service? I am not going to tell you that I am a social media expert, but I can tell you a couple things from a customer perspective.
First of all, I think all businesses need to use some form of social media to be able to attract customers to their business. No one today can get by without a website, for example. But to just have a website is not the answer, and it can actually do more harm than good.
If a website looks unprofessional and is just thrown up to have one, the customer will wonder whether this attitude is prevalent in the whole business. Does the website include hours of operation and a phone number and other contact information? More and more restaurants are using online menus for pick-up or delivery. But if that menu is not current in content or pricing, it could cause people to find another choice. When I call a place to order food and then get a price that is different than shown or I am told the item is no longer on the menu, my first question is “Why did no one bother to update the website?” and I wonder how much they care about keeping customers informed. I find it hard to believe that they are too busy to do that.
And what about advertising online? As I said, I am not an expert but I am aware that if you search for a product or click on an ad, there is a way that when you get a post on Facebook and other forms of input to your computer, you will see that product ad again and again. There are people who can help you set that up. I am not sure of the cost for this, but it is the way to reach a lot of people frequently. And using different forms of advertising such as this will demonstrate your willingness to keep up with the times and use a variety of methods to communicate with customers.
I have also seen businesses post messages on Facebook or send out emails daily announcing a special or just a reminder that they are there. Does this work? On one side, out of sight, out of mind. So this keeps the business name in front of people daily. But on the other side, do people get tired of looking at a daily email and just hit “delete” without even reading? It would seem to me that if the business is sending out messages frequently, there has to be something unique in each mail to get people to read it. A good deal of the day to attract people to the business might work. This approach seems better for a business such as a restaurant or retail sales business.
So what else can businesses do? One thing I have seen is a concept such as Groupon where you can offer a good one-time price for a product or service. I use them frequently, and they can range from massages, health clubs, weight loss programs, restaurants, and pet grooming to almost any type of business. It is not necessarily a money-making effort the first time, but what better way to build a loyal customer base than to have them experience your business at a good initial cost. Chances of return business from these people would seem to be higher than just running an ad or sending out a message, assuming you give them great customer service during that initial visit.