Customer Service: How Are You Handling Unhappy People?

July 8, 2015

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

I’m amazed by the stats that more than half of those on social media don’t have a plan to respond to negative social media posts. Social media isn’t new, isn’t going away, and if you’ve followed or read anything about this space, you know there have been numerous posts about the subject.

customer service

Customer service departments are usually the place where traditional issues are handled. But when it comes to social media, most don’t know how to find complaints and have a process of responding in a timely manner. Customers especially on the internet want a response and want it now (42% want to be responded to in an hour or less).

I recently read a great article by Jay Baer from Convince and Convert on Why You Need a Customer Service Response Road Map that highlights ways to identify, prioritize, assign responsibility and set deadlines that’s well worth reading.

Negative issues need to be addressed and what better way to hear about issues than on social platforms. Don’t you want to know what customers are saying about you? You’d better be monitoring them and jump in with a plan to respond. There are several monitoring options out there will help you. Here are some free ones: Social Mention, Google Alerts, Hootsuite and TweetDeck.

I recently had an experience with a major faucet manufacturer about a replacement. We had to get a new tub at home and my wife wanted to update the faucets, which we did. The manufacturer sent the wrong spout and it took our plumber almost 2 months to get the replacement for it. They weren’t good at customer service, just making excuses. I made mention (by brand name) on a tweet what my frustration was, and true to form, heard nothing back.

In the short run, ignoring me may not be a big deal to them since I had already purchased the tub set, but in the long run, my wife is planning to replace all the faucets in our 3 bathrooms. Guess who isn’t going to be considered for that purchase?

In a world where we have alternative plans for everything, don’t overlook social responses to negative posts. It’s better to address them straight on or they will fester and come back to bite you when you least expect it. Have a plan in place as negative reviews will affect your SEO.

Unless you are offering something you can’t get anywhere else, then you’re going to have competition from someone. So what makes your customers or potentials want to do business with you instead of them?

Assuming you have a good product, then I’d say the customer experience would be the major deal sealer or breaker. Customer service starts the moment someone from your company answers the phone through the sales process and follow-up with your customer service department if a question or problem arises.

I guess what I’m trying to say is your company’s customer service should start with every employee. Those that are on the front line (be it a CS or delivery man), they have the one-on-one contact with the customer and can sway future purchases by their actions or inactions. We all build our business around repeat sales, so everyone in the company needs to be good will ambassadors. The challenge for all of us is to find the friction in our process and smooth it out.

Here’s a good test. Make a complaint on social media about one of your products (under a name they won’t recognize) and see what kind of response you get.


Do you have a B-to-B Video Strategy?

January 20, 2015

We are a visual society and it’s a fact that videos are a unique way of delivering your message to a targeted audience. B-to-B companies using this media sometimes are too set in the old ways (or another way of saying it, they want to present the facts and videos are boring). No wonder their videos aren’t being watched, those that are putting folks to sleep!

Videos can be a powerful tool for any manufacturer but they need to be done right. You need to have a video strategy before doing your first one. Don’t do them because your competitor is. Do them because what you have to say is relevant, timely and well done. Yes, people would like to be entertained a bit, but what they’re really looking for in our space is a solution to a problem.

I recently read a post by Jess Osteoff, managing editor of Convince & Convert, that talks about the 8 New BtoB Video Content Marketing Trends.

Here are some highlights:

  • It’s all about the experience – We need to capture the attention of the viewer.
  • People love to laugh – Think about the videos you’ve seen. I’ll bet most had some sense of humor included.
  • Problem solving – We must not get away from the real reason why they are watching.
  • Emotion trumps logic – Emotion captures their attention.

The key to a successful video program is first, have a strategy of what you’re going to say and how are you going to say it, and second, put yourself in the viewer’s shoes. Lighten up and make them memorable. Yes, it’s ok to have a sense of humor.


Manufacturers: What Are You Doing to Maximize Your Brand?

September 23, 2014

With all the content marketing and social media options that are out there, where does a manufacturer start to ensure their brand gets noticed? What are you doing to build both your brand and your social media strategy?

I recently read a good article on Convince and Convert – 10 Company and Product Branding Tips from Microsoft that I found to be interesting, and most are applicable to the B-to-B space as well.

Here are some highlights:

  • Focus on one brand – This is especially true for smaller manufacturers with limited resources. You can’t be promoting both the company and a branded product line. Go with promoting the company. Use the same logo and description in all media channels.
  • Consistent messaging – Keep the message the same across all channels. Stick with the basics – who you are, what’s the product and why should I care?
  • Not all brands are equal – Depending on who you are and the audience you’re trying to reach, you don’t have to cover all the social media options. Cover the ones where your customers frequent the most.
  • Big picture – If you are in a bigger company with multiple people managing different silos, there needs to be someone overseeing the BIG picture.
  • Bigger is not always better – Don’t worry about the number of followers; be more concerned that they are the right ones. If they are, they will share your content with their peers.
  • Manage your content – Watch what engages your audience and give them more of the same.

These are just some of the things that will help you grow your brand.

 


Are You Using Backlinks to Build Your Web Traffic?

August 30, 2011

Google optimization is based on the premise that the more people like your site, the more credible it is and therefore it gets a higher ranking.

Right, wrong or indifferent…that’s how the game is played. So what are you doing to make sure other sites are linking back to you?

I recently read a guest post on http://www.convinceandconvert.com/ by Nicole Sorochan that outlined 14 Easy Ways to Build Backlinks. Nicole stresses that if you’re going to go to the trouble of doing backlinks to make sure to make them complete.

The more info you give the engines, the better chances you have of getting their attention. I thought I’d share five ways that hit home with me.

  • Google profiles – Create for key employeees. Add a custom link with anchor text (words that make up the link).
  • LinkedIn – Build a company profile as well as individual profiles on key people.
  • Digg – Great place to put articles you want to promote.
  • Stumbleupon – Another popular article discovery site.
  • YouTube – Create a custom YouTube channel for your company.

So what are you doing to capitalize on backlinks?


How Do You Thank Someone For A Retweet?

March 23, 2011

If you’re active on Twitter, you probably have gotten a “thanks for the RT.” Saying “thank you” helps build brand loyalty and brings a conversational aspect to your tweets. We all struggle on what’s the correct etiquette for thanking someone on Twitter. Do you always have to say thanks? Are there other ways to show your gratitude?

Angie Schottmuller from Interactive Artisan recently did a guest post on Jay Baer’s Convince and Covert that was right on target with helpful do’s and don’ts  regarding etiquette. Here are some highlights:

DO’s

  • Follow the user – Review their profile and if they are a good fit, follow them.
  • Reciprocate – Scan their tweets and see if one is applicable for you to RT.
  • Retweet a Retweet – This is a good way to recognize the user and put quality content back  into the stream.
  • Conversational Mention – Reply with a conversational response about the post to get a discussion going.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t put numerous RT’s back-to-back.
  • Avoid peak content hours.
  • Don’t put out a generic thanks. Always include a hashtag.

If you like this post, you might like:

7 Ways to Use Twitter to Generate Traffic and Leads.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 731 other followers