by John Tscholl
Modern consumers have grown up in a world of technology and innovation. They intuitively know how to define as well as expect exceptional customer service. They are Internet experts who stay constantly connected to one another. They are comfortable sharing their opinions, and they know where to go to get the opinions of others.
Today’s customers like to find their own answers, at their own speed. More than 90 percent will check a website for information before emailing or calling for help, so your website can make a huge difference in how you are perceived. As social media continues to change the way people communicate, it has become an increasingly important tool for small businesses – where the loss of even one customer can have a big impact. Being responsive and engaging has never been more critical.
Chances are, consumers been writing about you on social media
Keep in mind, there are now 7.2 billion people on the planet. Among them are a great number of people who are “connected.” The following numbers make for interesting reading.
- Almost 2.1 billion people have social media accounts,
- 3.65 billion mobile users have access to the Internet via smartphones and tablets, and
- close to 1.7 billion people have active social media accounts.
Are you paying attention?
Did you know that consumers complain about brands 879 million times a year on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites? What’s worse, brands aren’t responding. Seven in eight messages to brands go unanswered within 72 hours. Now that’s a shame, because each one is a missed opportunity to be proactive and use customer complaints to turn a complaining customer into a loyal customer.
After a positive customer service experience, 69 percent of Americans would recommend your company to others. Seventy-five percent of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent, according to a Customer Experience Impact Report from Harris Interactive. You need to show them that you aren’t a machine.
Great service generates great word of mouth
The social media buzz about your business or product, passed from one reliable person to the next, is still the most cost-effective way to build a loyal following, expand your business, and reach new customers. How does it start? Give them an amazing customer experience and encourage them to think of themselves as partners in your business. Like I’ve said before, your organization chart should feature the customer at the top.
How your customers feel about you and what they are prepared to tell others about you can influence your revenues and profits. According to a Nielsen Report, fully 92 percent of consumers around the world say word of-mouth, or recommendations from friends and family, is what they trust the most.
While advertising brings customers in; customer service keeps them coming back. In a thriving business, customers are not optional, they are a requirement. Your customer service marketing strategy must focus on delivering processes, experiences and intangibles to them rather than physical goods and transactions. It involves integrating a focus on the customer throughout the firm and across all functions starting with social media.
Repeat customers spend 33 percent more than new customers; referrals among repeat customers are 107 percent greater.
The increasing use of social media demonstrates to people the power they have as individuals to make a huge difference. Social media and text messaging create opportunities for individual involvement that feels personal. Personal involvement encourages participation; participation creates ownership; ownership creates loyalty.
For the past 34 years, John Tschohl, president of the Minneapolis-based Service Quality Institute, has helped organizations drive a service culture. His books and technology – based on practicality, simplicity and common sense – are available in 11 languages in more than 45 countries.
For more information, visit customer-service.com or johntschohl.com.