By Jason Levesque
If you plan on launching a ‘startup’, remember that one way or another, the ‘startup’ title will go away. Either it will fail or it will evolve into a successful small business. The choice is pretty simple: grow or die. Now, I’ve never met any entrepreneur who dreams of failure as the ultimate outcome. So your choice is simple, think big and grow! First and foremost, have a successful strategy for customer acquisition to ensure you’re both attaining customers and securing them long-term. Customer engagement practices play a critical role in this process. The right initiatives help startups grow by both acquiring new customers and developing brand loyalty. One of the most powerful moves startups must make is the development of social media pages with a strong customer service presence.
This serves two main purposes:
1. Startups will build brand equity by establishing a positive online presence, which will organically attract new customers.
2. An integrated customer service presence through social media will meet the heightened needs of today’s consumers. Consumers demand expedient service on the contact channel of their choice.
Social Media for Customer Engagement
The connection between brand and consumer has evolved from a one-way conversation into a two-way relationship. Instead of brands talking at consumers, they now talk with them in an ongoing dialogue.
This evolved relationship is evident on brands’ social media pages, regardless of the startup’s industry. In fact, the number of questions asked on brands’ Facebook pages has increased by 85% over the last year alone1. Without a Facebook page, startups would simply be leaving these opportunities for interactions with customers on the table, untouched, along with the positive sentiment, sales, and loyalty that comes with them.
With that said, it’s imperative that startups create and effectively manage social media pages to attract new customers and offer a platform for engagement. The singular, strongest point to make is to post valuable content regularly after your social media pages are created. By posting quality content, startups create an opportunity for consumers to connect with them. When consumers see content that is relevant, interesting, and helpful, they will be inclined to engage. By regularly posting and sharing quality content across social media platforms, customer engagement will increase, and brands’ online presence will become stronger and more established.
A robust, positive online presence with active customer engagement is foundational to a startup’s growth.
Customer Service Through Social Media
A major problem startups face involves integrating customer care processes into social media platforms. Startups can create social media pages and begin posting content, but creating processes to effectively manage customer care is often a struggle. Some startups rely on a social media management or marketing team rather than customer care specialists to handle customer inquiries, but in order to effectively execute this, solid processes must first be established.
Research tells us that 42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes2. However, only 36% of consumers that make customer service inquiries through social media report having their issue resolved quickly and effectively3. The high expectations are clear. It’s imperative that your social media and customer care teams collaborate closely to provide quick care at all times. This is best accomplished when your social media and customer care teams operate under one roof.
Startups therefore need to be extremely well versed in their customer care policies and a system must be established to respond to customers in near real-time.
Meeting customers’ expectations for service will fuel a startup’s growth. NM Incite tells us that 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective response on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others4. Bain & Capital conducted a study that found that when companies respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company5.
Engagement through social media by posting valuable content, coupled with an integrated customer service presence that delivers exceptional, fast service will help startups build a base of happy, loyal customers. These customers bring in more customers by telling others of the brand, which in turn increases revenue streams and R.O.I.
- 1) http://www.socialbakers.com/blog/1863-brands-in-all-industries-increase-social-customer-care-performance-infographic
- 2) http://socialhabit.com/uncategorized/customer-service-expectations/
- 3) http://www.slideshare.net/NMIncite/state-of-social-customer-service-2012
- 4) http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/webinars/2013/reinvigorate-your-customer-service-with-social-care.html
- 5) http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/putting-social-media-to-work.aspx