Tag Archives: customer service

When Brands Fail To Remain Relevant, They RadioShack – Who’s Next?

Now that the buzz and media frenzy about the demise of RadioShack and the analysis of why by Wall Street and other experts  is beginning to subside, another consideration should be examined. What happens to brands that do not remain relevant, stop innovating and sit on their hind quarters? Well in short, they RadioShack…

When Brands Fail to Remain RelevantAre You Relevant?

On and offline businesses should be getting a clear message that remaining relevant through evolving with changing times is a must. The penalties for not doing so can be incredibly harsh as we have seen with many top brands in North America that became so massive and full bureaucracy that they could no longer move or even make decisions quickly when times changed. A reliance on their “brand” coupled with an expectation that their customers would remain loyal if they continued to do business and usual has resulted in many going the way of RadioShack.

Many have commented and speculated as to the reasons for RadioShack and other big brands falling, but the details all tend to simply boil down to not remaining relevant and changing with the times. We’ve seen very similar results with the likes of Palm, BlackBerry and even Kmart. Regardless of the industry, company size or product niche, brands and marketers must realize what their customers want, how their buying habits change and how marketing and delivery of products and services continually change.

Who’s Next?

We believe the next industry that we can expect to experience a significant shake up is in the content world. Now we bet you are thinking we mean online, and that will be part of it, but for this discussion we are referring to content providers, television and Hollywood.

Just like digital disrupted the music industry with the rise of the iPod and later online music services like Pandora and iHeartRadio, the cable and satellite space is going to be in real trouble. Visual content we normally think of for television, movie theaters and DVD players has been on a long transition toward streaming services via the likes of Netflix and others.

Now before you start thinking “duh, we know this”, it’s important that we take the discussion to a deeper level. Beyond the innovation of technology resulting in an advancement in relevance that Streaming Video providers are delivering to the market, there are a few other things that they are taking advantage of that might not be as obvious.

1) People hate their Cable Company – Maybe hate is too strong of a word, but most of us dislike Comcast and the like. We feel you have extorted from us for years, displayed horrible customer service and near zero concern for us as a customer. Your social media has highlighted these facts to many and your prices are not sustainable. Most of use want something better, that gives us control, without the $200+ monthly bill.

2) Content is becoming a Commodity – With the internet expanding in technology and access on a daily basis, we know how to get the content we want, without being tied to our television. Though we like our local content and special “shows”, we are tired of you controlling the content we have access to and when and how we can access it. Additionally, your technology is seemingly ancient and we want the latest, easiest to use and non-tethered options that fit our lifestyle.

3) On Demand Rules Consumption – The way we want to consume content is changing. We have increasingly busy and diverse work hours and responsibilities for career and home. We want access to content when it is convenient for us, not you.

These are just a few of the reasons that Comcast and the like are going to see a disruption in their monopoly businesses. Technology is advancing and driving down price, while increasing access, mobility and on demand capabilities today’s consumer wants. Innovation, service and care has all but disappeared in the space, while prices and restrictions continue to rise. Consumers are screaming for alternatives and the industry is only clamping down harder to retain their domination. This opens the door for massive market disruption.

Online Disruption As Well?

These similar constraints and concerns will ultimately disrupt online content consumption patterns as well. As consumers increasingly tire of Google and Facebook controlling the content they’re able to see and easily discover and marketer frustration is amplified for many connected reasons, a shakeup to the status quo is certainly going to come in short order. Consumers want the most recent relevant content in increasingly simplified ways and content marketers, brands and blogs need improved abilities to get in front of those consumers with their content. Do you see the similarities here? Another space rife for disruption.

How do you see relevance and innovation disrupting on and offline brands, marketers and consumers in the future?

 

 

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Filed under Brand, Content, customer service, Facebook, Google, marketers, Marketing, Social Media

Customer Service “IS” Sales In Social Media – 2 Examples and 3 Tips

Customer service is at the core of effective social media marketing. The beginning of effective customer service is  listening to your customers and prospects, but more than that, it’s showing that you’re listening by responding. Even further, it’s responding in real-time that delivers the message of responsiveness, authenticity, priority and that the your connections are important. Taking it all the way to an end game, proper social media customer service actually results in sales, WHEN DONE RIGHT.

Don’t believe it? Here’s one example of the right idea that misses the mark.

(I apologize early in the post for the numerous graphics, but I felt it was important to show actual threads and engagement that depict the points we are covering.)

Example 1:

Last week I had some tire trouble. Specifically, I had a leak in one of the rear tires and had to get it resolved because it would no longer hold pressure. I tweeted about it and headed off to Les Schwab to get it handled. As usual, Les Bad Social Media CustomerServiceSchwab (on site) has fabulous customer service and quickly removed the nail and got me on my way after pointing out another issue with my front tires. With no time to have the front tire issue handled that day, I got back to the office to get back on schedule.

Later that day, another Oregon tire company jumped in to check on me via Twitter. Being a social media professional I really dig attentive brands and eagerly responded about the situation. I loved that they were watching for opportunities that make sense to make a connection, but my enthusiasm didn’t last.

They took three days to respond to my reply and dropped me like I was hot. No attempt to be better than another option close to me, offer alternatives or pursue a relationship or a sales opportunity. They just bowed out altogether.

To make matters worse, Les Schwab never responded at all. In fact their Twitter account is completely inactive and never responds to anyone. What missed opportunities to make connections with customers and prospects. What missed opportunities to stand out and get a sale. Needless to say, I will not be buying tires or having my alignment done at either of these companies.

Customer service within social media is too often NOT matching a brands brick and mortar reputation or intent. A fail any way you slice it that does not achieve social selling.

*Bonus Example:

Social Media ResponseAn article entitled “Customer Service as a differentiator” last week about our customer service was published by another one of our users and sparked a pretty interesting comment thread from one reader. They seemed to have a pretty negative and misguided view of customer service that many may share. It badly needed a response and of course we responded. Are you responding to comments on blog posts that reference your brand? You should be, as they represent incredible opportunity to show ways you are different.

Example 2:

Our brand is constantly listening AND responding online. Whenever we are mentioned as a part of a discussion, we do not delay in responding, offering assistance and showing our authentic brand. When someone expresses interest in what we do, is referred by one of our users or is having an issue, we do not take it lightly. Review the following thread to get a good idea of how this works and contemplate how you can replicate something similar in your social media marketing.

Example of social media Customer Service

Customer Service Bundle Post

The results of approaching customer service in this fashion can clearly be seen. In less than an hour we had engaged a referral and helped them not only register for Bundle Post, but also got them setup and trained! Clearly people appreciate when you respond at the time they are there and not days later. In addition, sales, customers, referrals and an incredible reputation often result.

3 tips to amazing social media customer service:

1) Respond – Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you say it’s how you say it?” In social media customer service it’s more like “It is what you say and WHEN you say.” Listening and responding quickly has many benefits in social media marketing. Two of those benefits are 1) defusing frustration before it escalates and 2) striking while the iron is hot.

When someone mentions your brand in the social graph, they are doing so when they are logged in. Responding quickly ensures the conversation can progress fluidly since you already know the person is online.  The sooner you respond to a customer or prospects comment, the greater the opportunity to be of service, resulting in a sale or a positive outcome.

2) Acknowledge – Like responding, acknowledging someone and their comment or concern goes a long way. You acknowledge by responding quickly. Offer resolutions, options and suggestions that address and acknowledge the comment the user had.

**Be sure to show empathy if it is a complaint!

3) Be Authentic – You have to really care and show it. If you or your brand does not have this real view at the core of your culture, it is really going to be challenging to show it.

As we stated in the comment thread of that earlier mentioned Bonus Example blog post from last week, “We approach our business from our experienced social media marketing perspective, combined with our real concern and relationships with our users. We have thousands you can ask if you care to. We do in fact love our users because they are all based on relationships. We aren’t some gear heads that decided to make some software for social media because it’s a hot industry.”

Customer service within social media is actually selling. Sales within social media marketing should also include a mindset toward effective customer service. Together they are powerful forces that lead to real measurable results. On their own, without working together they are often short-term or at least considerably less effective.

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Filed under Blog, Engagement, Marketing, Relationship, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Selling, Twitter