by Noah Yaughn

This post is part of the Top Ten Tips series put on by SCORE.  SCORE is a great organization dedicated to setting small business owners up for success.  I’m so honored to be part of their board and kicking off the Top Ten Tips series.  This is the second post of ten so please start from the beginning otherwise you may get lost.

A quick recap: For something that has only been in existence in the last ten years; social media has gotten a lot of press.  It has also grown in complexity as it has gone from a place for friends to get together to something companies develop entire strategies around.  This can be quite daunting.  When I put these three facts together: young, complex, daunting; it reminds me of a particular time in my life.  It’s called high school.  So we’re going to have some fun with this by connecting social media with high school.

Today we’re going to talk about a integral part to any business: Customer Service.  Let’s face it, if customers are unhappy, your days are numbered.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to gauge customer engagement before an empty store reveals it to us?  Social Media to the rescue.

DMG Consulting conducted a study1 of how large corporations used social media and the number two answer (after marketing) was customer service.  This is something the small business community can learn from as we often just use social media for marketing.  I think the customer service role is similar to that of the high school guidance counselor.

The first rule in counseling and customer service is listen.  crm graphYou can’t solve or fix anything if you haven’t heard the problem.  Everyone wants to feel like they’ve been heard.

One of the biggest fears, people have about getting into social media is the complaints they may get.  Here’s what I would like you to do: embrace it.  Yes, there are going to be some people that are really mad at their ex-wife and they’re taking it out on you.  These people will call so you’re going to hear from them anyway.  The people you won’t hear from are the ones who can’t figure something out or felt a little slighted.  When I say “won’t hear from” I mean ever because they won’t come back.  They wouldn’t bother calling because they believe your clerk isn’t going to be able to offer them any real resolution.  When people ask on social media though; they feel like they’re speaking to someone with authority and who has answers.

When we have our questions answered and our concerns validated we feel better don’t we.  A study by NM Incite2 showed that 71% of people who get responses will recommend the company versus 19% who said they still would without a response.  Here’s a scenario.

Problem: After buying product A several people complain about how difficult it is to assemble or program.

Solution: You respond to them with simpler instructions.  Those people are happy and recommend you because YOU solved their problem.  Can they get product A at your competition.  Sure, but they’re going to recommend you because you hold the solution to the problem with product A.  They’re loyalty goes to you.  This information can be disseminated through your brick and mortar stores too.  When a customer purchases product A, the clerk has been trained to hand them a simplified instruction set or tell them they want to spend a dollar getting a tool that will get the job done much faster.

Tip Number Six:
Happy Customers=Happy Business

Next time, we’ll weigh in on how social media can help with PR and Marketing

1DMG study
2NM Incite