Using Social Media to Provide Customer Delight
By Jennifer Kielmeyer, Safelite AutoGlass® Web and Emerging Technologies Strategic Marketing Manager
Technology has evolved the way that customers expect to communicate with companies. In order to fill this expectation, companies need to be prepared to listen and engage with their customers in a variety of methods, particularly through social media.
In March 2011, Accenture surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers about in-home service experiences. The results indicated that customers are increasingly voicing their experiences with companies, both positive and negative, online through social outlets such as Facebook and Angie’s List. The results also indicate a high correlation between the respondents’ age and the likelihood to use social media to express complaints about service experiences. As much as 20 percent of those 35 and under are likely to use social media to share their stories, whereas older age groups tend to interact less.
Harness Social Media for Customer Service
As customers are increasingly vocal online, Safelite AutoGlass makes it a priority to provide customer delight through this outlet and resolve service issues. While providing great service is the first step to delighting our customers, online interaction through social media outlets is a crucial way to build relationships and serve customers in different ways. As such, Safelite AutoGlass has had a social media strategy in place since 2008. Following are ways Safelite AutoGlass has successfully embraced its customers through social media.
1. Respond to customer sentiments in real-time
Social media has provided a platform for consumers to quickly share their experience, and posting is most often prompted by either a great experience or a negative service issue. Safelite AutoGlass can track these sentiments through the platforms themselves and through specialty social media tracking tools, which can also give a snapshot of viewpoints about the company and common customer service issues to investigate.
Because consumers have an expectation of a quick response over a social media channel, Safelite AutoGlass makes an effort to respond in real-time.
2. Address online complaints immediately
Quick responses can also be crucial to managing brand reputation when a customer is very upset. Just as with responding to positive comments, Safelite AutoGlass quickly acknowledges and answers the comment. First, a social media strategist will offer sympathy for the problem and start to offer solutions such as the contact information for our Customer Advocates or a service email address.
A key step in the process is communicating with our executive services team (a customer advocate department) to notify them about issue. This is normally done through email, and then the executive services team works with the customer offline to resolve the issue.
Timeliness is of the essence in resolving customer service complaints, because customers can amplify and publicize their complaints through multiple avenues (Facebook, Twitter, review sites and blogs).
The social media strategist may also follow up with the customer via the respective social media channel to ensure that the situation was resolved to their satisfaction.
Finally, if the situation warrants, the social media strategist will reach out to operations to share any opportunities for improving the customer experience.
3. Ask advocates to share positive feedback online
Today’s social media programs make it simple to ask for a public recommendation. Sites like Yelp, for instance, manage user-generated reviews while brand-advocacy programs allow businesses to be more proactive in asking for online testimonials. These testimonials weave into the company website and Facebook page.
Safelite AutoGlass has been able to garner more than 15,000 positive online testimonials and increase average star ratings on various sites from 2.4 to 4.0 within a one-month time period.
4. Humanize the brand
Not only do customers get responses to their customer service issues through social media, but Safelite AutoGlass also paints a picture of the culture and “human” voice of the company through posts and multimedia. Consumers can get a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes with employee events through pictures and videos. Employees are also free to post their thoughts on the social media pages.
5. Establish yourself as an expert resource in your industry
Customers also can look to the Safelite AutoGlass social media accounts for a great resource for information about vehicle glass repair and replacement industry. Safelite AutoGlass often posts links to our newsletters, information and interviews, as well as posting pertinent information from other experts in the field.
6. Be genuine
Safelite AutoGlass strives to take the media out of social media. Instead of trying to push the product or a stance on certain topics, it is important to remember that this medium is about communities of individual people contributing to a greater good. A canned response is never as good as something sincere and conversational. We may not have all the answers, but we do our best to find out as quickly and accurately as possible. This genuine nature adds to our credibility and aids in making us a trusted resource.
Make It Work for You
Don’t see social media as a threat. Rather, it is a whole new opportunity to engage customers. However, it doesn’t work to simply set up your social media pages and let them sit stagnant. Appoint an employee or department to manage them daily. Design a proactive editorial calendar to deliver fresh content frequently. And most importantly, develop a streamlined process for addressing online feedback.