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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Twitter IS Changing The Face of Customer Service

                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                                                                                                

You Don't Believe Me?  Then Please Read on :-)


Social media will revolutionise the way businesses serve their customers.  Certainly this will the case with office supplies.  In fact its already happening. Right here, right now.

You will see from our home page that OfficeThingy is active when it comes to  social media. You can check www.officethingy.co.uk out on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and/or you may also choose to read this blog.  Fankoo!
  
Twitter is particularly interesting and from a "customer service" point of view; potentially very, very powerful, so I will focus on Twitter in this post.  Like many newbies I guess, my initial Twitter behaviour was exploritory and fairly random.  Who do I follow? What do I Tweet?  I felt like a man sat in a dark room filled with white noise, trying to tune into what was going on but doing nothing more than talking to myself.  I get that feeling with my blogs too sometimes; but I am confident these blogs will add value as the posts become more refined over time. You tell me. Anyway, I digress.

And then at a Transformational ICT On Line Marketing Conference & Exhibition I discovered Tweetspinner. Thank you Andrew Talbot.  Tweetspinner is a terrific Twitter management tool and worth every dollar.

OfficeThingy's Twitter strategy is now much more structured.  I am very selective about who I follow.  I purge my followers and friends regularly to ensure I not only have room to follow people who are relevant (and relevancy is dependant on my own unique criteria but includes some obvious no-brainers as to who I must follow) but that I also improve my friends to followers ratio.  At one point it was insane - 350%!  My goal is to get it well below 100% and I am getting there.

I recommend you check Tweetspinner out. Do you think it's risky, in this highly competitive office supplies market place, for me to be sharing this kind of insight?  Surely the competition will pick up on it. Isn't that dangerous?  Errr ... No! And this is just one way in which social media is revolutionary.  It encourages CONVERSATIONS and sharing like never before.  The stance of my business is that we have more to offer than most of the competition. So it follows we and me, have more to share. And less to fear of being candid and transparent. Good, innit?

Here's an example of the power of Twitter and a signal of things to come.

The CONVERSATION in the public domain (that's the important bit folks) went something like this:


  • A newly acquired follower tweets to say they are adding items to their basket and looking forward to putting me to the test.
  • I respond instantly with a big thank you and a promise of delight.
  • My promise of delight is endorsed by a second follower who takes time to tweet us both. Nice!  If I had been a provider of poor service the comment may have been to the contrary.  Do you get my point yet?
  • Hick-up encountered! My newly acquired follower tweets to express polite frustration at having built up a chunky a basket only to have lost it.  Arghh!!
  • What was the cause? If an unregistered surfer saves items to a basket, Our system keeps baskets open for up to 160DAYS, however if the unregistered customer has an anti-virus security package, if they close the browser down the evolution cookie is destroyed and the basket cannot be retrieved.
  • Solution; humble apologies offered to the generous surfer who takes the trouble to register and places her order.  I am also offered a thank you by my NEW CUSTOMER for having responded instantly.  
  • What happens next is that the goods are delivered next day ... and so on.  
  • Update - and here's a tweet just in from my generous new customer, 20/4/2011:-
@OfficeThingy GREAT service! Saved a ton using you guys vs our usual suppliers & the best part: a buddy for my mac    http://twitpic.com/4n5plk




Don't Believe Me?  Please Read on :-)


So, the revolution here is that since the shopper-store conversation was in Twitter, it was conducted openly and all my followers (in fact anyone) will have seen the trail of events.  Exposing my service to the world in real time like never before.

In the future customers will complain via Twitter. Why? because they'll having conversations and sharing dissatisfaction not only with the business but also with all their followers - which will include customers, competitors and  potential customers. This  is far more powerful than writing a letter to the customer services manager or MD.  So who wins? Those businesses that are seen to quickly and effectively resolve issues will gain credence and respect. Those that don't will be exposed. And perhaps one day it will come to pass that those that hide from social media will be assumed to be errr ... "hiding".


Tweet content?


That's something for you to determine within the context of the needs and goals of your business.   Selective "Broadcasting" has its place, but Twitter is about much, much more than firing out links to special offers.  Extreme broadcasting is nothing more than crude spamming. I have cut the number of posts I make which contain urls and I have un-followed hundreds of "broadcasters". Sorry folks you lost my attention and / or brassed me off with bombardment.


A point on which to close:-

Did you know that Google is going to give a businesses's social media profile "authority" based on "quality", and will construct algorithms to filter out the credible users from the abusers?  Paid links will carry less authority too.


Social Media will change and lead to who know's where, but one thing is for sure, social media isn't going away. There will be winners and losers.  Best dab in now.


http://twitpic.com/4n5plhttp://twitpic.com/4n5pl

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