Companies today realize (or are realizing) that customer service is more than the in-person and over-the-phone help that it once was. Today, your brand has the free tools available to help in “real-time” and prove to your current and future consumers that your customer service rocks and you truly care for each consumer on an individual basis. Want to be the next Zappos with their witty and real-time quality customer service via Twitter? Keep reading!
Zappos has shown its consumers that each one will receive the care and service they deserve. As seen from the image above, “@xtraRegularRyan” had a convo with @zappos_service on Twitter after a purchase was received. This conversation after the fact demonstrates that the consumer was not only pumped but ecstatic to share this news. Could that be a loyal consumer? I think so!
As Frank Eliason commented in Social Media Examiner, “Be human about it. Let your team service your customers. Let them do what they do well and allow them to be who they are.” That’s exactly what Zappos does on Twitter– the customer service teams not only assists customers with what they need, but they have an actual conversation with them – whether it’s about “growing a mustache” or whatever suits your fancy — being “human” is key to building a customer relationship with your brand and maintaining it.
What tools can help?
Hootsuite: Keep track of what your consumers are saying on yourcomputer or while you’re running from meeting to meeting via iPad or smartphone.Hootsuite allows your company to manage Twitter and other applications on a simple platform where you can monitor multiple conversations/accounts at once. Afraid of a consumer question or request getting lost — Hootsuite helps you keep keep it organized! (p.s. Also integrated with Zendesk!) Hootsuite has 2 pricing plans: Basic = Free: Pro = $5.99/month
Zendesk: A web-based service to help you engage with your consumers in a simple and effective way. It has Twitter integration which allows you to connect easily with your consumers/tweeps (we really need a Twitter word for consumers….). You would be emailed and can accordingly manage customer service requests in order to respond more efficiently – whether you answer yourself or have another member of your team do so. A great tool to make sure your customers are kept happy because you can respond to each request rather than getting lost in your inbox. Zendesk has a Free Trial with 3 pricing plans: Starter: $9/month; Regular: $24/month; Plus: $49/month.
MarketMeSuite: is more than just a social media marketing dashboard forTwitter and other apps. It allows you to have unlimited accounts, schedule tweets, focus on following and unfollowing the right users, geolocation, among many other fun options. MarketMeSuite has 3 pricing plans: $5.99/month; $59.99 a year; $99.00 (pay once for lifetime).
CoTweet allows you to focus on specific conversations so you know when is best to respond; track exchanges and assign them to certain departments (like Zappos who has a customer service twitter account, @zappos_service, separate from the regular zappos account, @zappos) in your company so you can ensure that your brand “humanizes” its engagement and you can even include signatures so you know who’s responding (aka stay organized). CoTweet has a standard version for free and an enterprise offering for $1500/month.
p.s. Both MarketMeSuite and CoTweet integrate with Zendesk too!
Radian6: Known to power the likes of Dell and others in assisting their community listening, engaging and monitoring needs. Radian6 helps companies keep track of what’s being asked and said in an organized manner in order to ease the process of answering and commenting to your consumers on a regular basis. In addition, Radian6‘s Engagement Console allows you to listen more efficiently and has a sweet interface too! Radian6 asks you to Register for a Demo before getting pricing details.
Valuevine: A nifty tool to listen to what consumers are saying about your brand and also share promotions with target consumers. Has helped retailers realize the importance of Twitter and Facebook in social media marketing and the ease and use of both in listening and engaging with their target consumer. Valuevine asks you torequest a demo before receiving pricing information.
Tools such as Radian6, CoTweet, and ValueVine are great Social CRM tools for your company to utilize. What is Social CRM exactly? Many social media experts have their own versions for this definition, but here’s a great simple explanation– It is CRM for the social customer. The customer who is “savvy” and gets his or her information via the social channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Therefore, your company must be “savvy” as well and be able to engage he or she on those channels by listening, conversing, and monitoring. Tools like the ones above assist with keeping track of conversations so you have a better handle on responding to the customers’ needs and can also get to know each customer more personally by having a record of what social platforms they are on and what they are commenting and questioning.
Here are two more Social CRM tools at your disposal:
BantamLive is a contact management system plus Twitter client that also allows for Social CRM in order to track and engage contacts on social platforms. The tool has many integrations including Twitter, Google Apps, and others. It even includes some light project management features appropriate for small businesses. The best part of this tool though is its ease to keep track of your leads on the social platforms, get details about them and then engage each in a personal manner. And as we know, each consumer wants to be treated in a personal and unique manner. BantamLive has a Free Trial and 5 Pricing Plans: Personal for $19/month up to $140/month for a deluxe business plan.
Sprout Social: Their tagline is “turning social connections into loyal customers.” What company wouldn’t want “loyal customers?” The tools appears to cater toward the smaller brands and agencies who want a tool that is a bit more affordable. In addition, Sprout Social helps to organize your social networks in one easy to access place, helps organize messages by current and potential customers in order to respond and engage in real-time, and helps you measure your social reach and potential success with your target clients. Awesome! Sprout Social has a Free Trial and 2 Pricing Plans: $9/month for Personal and $49/month for Business.
As Lars Asbjornsen, VP of Online Marketing of Robert Half International stated: “Social media can alert you to customer-service complaints before you heard them in traditional channels. And that’s how most CFOs are using social media. Ignore the customer complaints on social media at your company’s peril.”
So, “listen up”, “respond well” and in “real-time!”