Go Ahead, Tweet It:
Seven Ways to Take Advantage of the
Social Power of Your Satisfied (and Not-So-Satisfied) Customers
Today, we tweet about the latest books we’ve read. We let our friends know where we’re eating lunch via Facebook. We Instagram pictures of our latest purchases. We post reviews of the businesses we frequent on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie’s List. As consumers, many of us have gone social. Unfortunately, this social reality is something that few companies have fully embraced. Until they do, they’ll be missing out on the social power of their satisfied customers.Just think about the last book you bought on Amazon. Did you read the publisher’s comments first or did you read the customer reviews? Most likely, it was the customer reviews. That’s because people trust people like them. Companies that aren’t embracing social media today are missing out on huge opportunities to capitalize on the voices of their customers.
The voices of your customers can contribute immediately and powerfully to a better service experience. Tell happy customers to go ahead and be social about their great experiences and encourage unhappy customers to come to you via social media so that you can make it right and improve your overall service.
The trick, of course, is encouraging your customers to use social media in the most beneficial way for your company. In other words, how do you keep them spreading great things about your company while bringing their complaints only to you?
Make it easy for them to go social. When you provide a link and a couple of lines encouraging your customers to share their experiences via Yelp, Angie’s List or your own site, you show confidence in your service and you open up your company to the possibility of a lot of great word-of-mouth publicity. On my website, www.UpYourService.com, we offer a section called Spread the Word and a comment-rich blog arena where we encourage people to share their experiences.
Say thank you. It sounds simple, but showing a little love for the love your customers show you goes a long way. All it takes is a message of gratitude that says, “Thank you so much for spreading the word. As one of our happy customers, when you tell other people about us, it helps us grow and serve you better.”
Invite them to reach out. Imagine the number of flights that took off today. Each had a captive audience of approximately 200 people or so, but it’s unlikely that very many of them were encouraged by the flight staff to tell their social networks about their flight.
Create a “Thanks for Being Social” promotional piece that includes the company’s Twitter handles, Facebook pages, Yelp and TripAdvisor pages, helpful Twitter hashtags, etc., with a line that reads, “If you enjoy our service, please let the world know.”
Ask how you can improve. A recent article in the UK’s The Observer points out that Twitter-savvy companies are using the medium to provide customers with a way to get instant feedback and resolve problems. It’s a great way to encourage customers to bring their complaints directly to you so that you can begin the service recovery process right away.
Encourage them to recognize great one-on-one service. United Airlines recently began its “Outperform Recognition Program,” which its MileagePlus members can participate in via the company’s mobile app. The program encourages customers to let United know when its employees have provided great service. Through this program, United is showing it understands that getting customers to recognize great customer service leads to more great customer service!
Funnel customer questions through social media. Then share the best answers. This enables you to easily share useful information with other customers, and it provides a perfect opportunity for your company to build up its informational capabilities. You find out immediately from your customers what information isn’t clear and what you need to do to clarify messages and information so they are easy to understand.
Make talking about your brand irresistible. Of course, the best way to ensure your customers are spreading positive, encouraging messages about your company is to provide such great service that they simply can’t resist telling people about it.
Your customers’ voices are vital to your organization. Social media provides an incredible opportunity to engage those voices, to turn one customer’s great experience into an advertisement that attracts new customers and gets current customers thinking positively about you.
Ron Kaufman is a popular keynote speaker and is the author of the New York Times bestseller Uplifting Service: The Proven Path to Delighting Your Customers, Colleagues, and Everyone Else You Meet (Evolve Publishing, 2012, ISBN: 978-09847625-5-2, $14.95, www.UpliftingService.com).