Social Media: Where Customer Service and Marketing Collide

A recent whitepaper from Chief Marketer and Genesys poses the question, “Does Your Social Media Strategy Force Marketing to Act Like Customer Service?” We think this a very important question. Especially as companies evaluate the purpose of their corporate website and compare it to social sites and online forums. Where is customer service actually happening?

Much of it is happening in social media. And it’s getting complicated. Trying to manage our social media presence to preserve brand integrity and ensure customer satisfaction is hard to do. Especially when responses must be given real-time and are out there for the world to see—forever.

So we’re all out here together trying to make it work. Marketers must occupy the same social media space with customer service, even if they don’t use that space in the same way. The result? Without a thought-out social media process in place that serves both purposes seamlessly, our friends at Genesys have concluded that customer service is likely to decline. And we agree.

There is some good advice in this brief white paper, our favorite nuggets are:

• The first step is to LISTEN. Always listen. What are your customers saying? Can you identify trends in the feedback? Is it easy to distinguish between responses that require customer service from those that are brand building?

• As you listen, identify certain words or phrases that your customers are using that will require an escalation path. Hopefully there won’t be too many of those. But, if they do appear, your team will know exactly what to do to resolve the issue.

• Establish best practices. One example is to reply to a customer within the channel in which they initiated contact. If they posted to Facebook, don’t email them directly. Use Facebook.

• Think of any customer outreach as a “an opportunity to respond and maintain a customer.” Even if the message begins as a negative one, don’t get upset. Use the response to both help the customer and elevate the conversation to a positive resolution. This is the secret of great customer service. And it isn’t easy.

Download your own copy of “Does Your Social Media Strategy Force Marketing to Act Like Customer Service?” here. It should help you on your way to a well-thought out, actionable social media strategy.

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