The other night I was watching Miracle on 34th Street, the unfortunate color version, and it got me to thinking. No, not about my blog post from last year (shameless plug for interested readers) but about customer service in general. The importance of ongoing communication with your brand ambassadors in the social space is almost immeasurable. Done well and you can have customers for life. Done poorly and you’re looking at nothing but coal tucked in your stocking and thrown at your head. This is pretty much agreed upon across all industries. So then why do some industries spend so much time ducking and weaving and so little time conversing?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to being socially challenged. Take highly regulated industries like pharma, finance, and healthcare for instance. Maintaining compliant yet engaging language can be tough. What’s more, reaching out to followers after listening to their tweets and posts can be even trickier. Tricky but not impossible. Compliance driven brands can develop and sustain meaningful relationships with customers by doing something they are not entirely familiar with – sharing thoughts and updates that have nothing to do with them. Companies in these sectors, especially in recent years, really need to work at appearing trustworthy and human. So this holiday season, social media departments in these industries should share content relevant to the interests of their audience without being heavy-handed. Share content on pop culture, favorite holiday recipes, tips for saving on travel, and some of the most cherished black and white seasonal flicks. You might be surprised by the level of engagement you spur and amount of trust you build.
Again, compliance-related industries have an understandable hurdle to climb. But not every brand is a drug company, insurance agency, or healthcare organization. It might come as a surprise to learn that some of the worst social media customer service offenders are in digital. Online advertisers, marketers, and brands have much more freedom to be expressive and engaging. Yet, many follow the “freedom isn’t free” premise. I have known some pretty cool companies with really lame Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and, well, forget LinkedIn. When it comes to building a social presence, sometime brands with hip corporate cultures choke on their own awesomeness. They suddenly forget who they are and instead try to sell their coolness to followers when they should be letting it show naturally and organically, SEO pun intended. Listen to what your customers are saying about you on social and respond in a voice they will recognize and appreciate. Anything less should put you on the naughty list.
Whether you’re trying to perfect your rugelach recipe, struggling with your tree lights, or preparing to light the Mishumaa Saba, make a pledge this holiday season to commit yourself to social customer service. By next December, you might find that engagement, sales, and customer love, actually (another shameless holiday movie mention) are all around.