Social Media: What’s The Big Deal?

May 31, 2011

“Are you on Facebook?” “I’ll Facebook you.” “You can see the pictures on my Facebook page.” All of these phrases have become commonplace to us in our personal lives. What about in our business lives? Is it really that important for your business or organization to be involved in Social Media?

The short answer? Yes.

For many companies, it comes as no surprise – in fact, many have already adopted a Facebook Page as part of their daily activities. For some however, it’s a “waste of time” or “an impossible position to fill” or they “just don’t have the time to do that”. My question to those companies is simple: “Do you have time for Customer Service?” In today’s market, they’re coming very close to one in the same.

This isn’t to say that the only way to provide excellent customer service is through social media. Obviously having a formidable staff that’s been empowered to do right by your customers is the first (and most important) step. The ever-changing face of business now also requires that you have the ability and the knowledge to reach out to customers who might not come into your stores physically, but instead choose to shop online…or communicate with you online.

Think of this situation: A customer comes into your store looking for a specific product or service. They easily find what they’re looking for, your salespeople are helpful and friendly – an excellent experience is had by this customer. Before they leave, they make a trip into your washroom….which isn’t as clean as it could be that specific day. Maybe the paper towels have run out, or the soap dispenser has run dry…whatever the trouble, the customer leaves your store with that on their mind.

What would it be worth to you, as a business owner, to know about the one thing that sullied an otherwise fantastic customer experience? I cannot tell you how many times in the run of a day I see Tweets that say things like “Ugh, the floors at *store name* are gross. Heard of a mop??” or “Too bad *store name* didn’t take clean change rooms into consideration. #gross”. People are no longer holding back on telling the world what they think about a businesses – and that means they’re telling your customers, both current and potential. Good or bad, the feedback you’re getting online requires a response – even if you’re unaware it exists. Interestingly, studies show that how a company handles a complaint online is actually more important than how they handle praise or positive feedback. The old adage is true – people just want to be heard.

People expect to see businesses online. Think about it: what’s the first thing you do when you want to know a business’ hours or location? You google it. Want to call them? You look at their website to get their phone number – and possibly just email them instead of calling. If your business doesn’t have a website, your customers are noticing. Now imagine how easily you could communicate with customers with a complaint – or praise – about your store/business if you were  actively using Facebook and Twitter as ways to converse with your customers.

If you’re not using Twitter and Facebook, I’d love to know why. What are the obstacles that are stopping you? How can we help you take your business through the first steps of social media usage?

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