By adaptive - April 4th, 2012

Hi all, Hope everyone is well? This week, the Wednesday Update is a customer service special - to celebrate the imminent Social Media for Customer Service Summit, in London on the 23 - 24 Apr...

Hi all,

Hope everyone is well?

This week, the Wednesday Update is a customer service special - to celebrate the imminent Social Media for Customer Service Summit, in London on the 23 - 24 April.

Here's your pick of the latest (customer service-based) news...

Ford uses social media to improve customer services

Ford Motor CoBig name brands may not be known for their proactive approach to customer service, but that’s all changed at Ford Motor Co. The company has eight dedicated staff that keeps a close eye on how their company is being talked about right across the social media environment. Using customised search tools, the company is able to see precisely how their brand is perceived at any one time.

Scott Monty, global manager of digital and multimedia communications at Ford told Forbes: “We are looking to engage with someone within hours of posting. Our goal is under four hours.” The company is also seeing the real-world realisation of a trend whereby consumers increasingly use social media platforms with their customer services relationships.

Ford is on average responding to around 2,000 customers a week via social media. Consumers are increasingly turning their backs on automated phone switchboards in favour an almost instantaneous response via their favourite social media network.

Social media is changing customer services

Customer ServicesThe latest report from Sitel conducted by TNS that looked closely at customer services has overwhelming shown that social media is now having a major impact on this sector. The report that surveyed 1,000 16-64 year-olds found that not surprisingly that the under 25 age group are leading the charge using Twitter and Facebook to solve problems they have with the brand the covert.

“Social media is dramatically altering the customer service landscape. With easy access to real-time information, a new generation of ‘always-on’ consumers is more empowered and demanding than ever. This trend is on the rise as social media proliferates, both online and on mobile, across all age groups and demographics,” said Lawrence Fenley, managing director for UK and Ireland at Sitel.

“To build trust and brand loyalty in this rapidly changing environment, companies must develop a social media customer service strategy that is responsive, proactive and engaging in order to address customers’ needs.”

For brands that want to make more intimate connections with consumers, paying close attention to their customer service activity is now of paramount importance. The TNS report indicated that 71% of consumers conduct an online search if they have a problem, with 25% using forums and chat rooms, where brand advocacy can be at its most sensitive. Companies that have online content that resolves common problems are praised highly with video demonstrations being the top type of information consumers would like to see online.

The survey also revealed differences between how men and women behave when they encounter issues with a product. When they have a problem with a product, 61% of men and 53% of women will head to the Internet first to search for a solution, while 39% of women and 30% of men will contact the retailer or manufacturer directly before doing anything else. The key to effective customer service is to understand the demographics of your audience and be prepared with the right level of support at every potential touch point.

Sitel offered this best practice advice:


  • Listen: Monitoring social media will give you a feel for what your customers are saying about you and where you may have issues with the product or customer service. Determine how frequently customers are raising issues or trying to communicate with your company so you can assess how important the channel is for your brand.
  • Engage: Social media is about participation. For businesses, it’s also about giving customers a direct route to your company. Set rules of engagement and establish a tone of voice that aligns with your specific business objectives whilst extending your brand’s personality.
  • Analyse: You could be seeing thousands of comments every day so you need to establish a process to track these communications, determine the appropriate response and prioritise.
  • Adapt: Social media is changing every day, from the launch of Google+ to the increased adoption of mobile social apps, so there is a need to be flexible and scalable. Review your programme frequently to keep pace with your customers.

 It’s not me, it’s you!

Facebook BreakupsA new infographic from Get Satisfaction makes for interesting reading if your brand has suddenly started to lose fans on Facebook and Twitter. It seems that too much of a good thing can be very bad if you are a brand trying to engage with its customers.

The top reasons for leaving the social media presence of a brand include repetitive content and too many notifications. It’s clear that the age-old adage that content is king is alive and well and living on a social media network near your business.

If your corporation can be clear, informative and engaging it will have – and more importantly keep – legions of fans and followers. And your company’s customer service response is absolutely key to these positive relationships.

The future of customer service support

Social Media SupportResearch by MarketTools and Zendesk revealed in a new infographic that customer service support should be business wide and not simply confined to the customer services department. Also, shown was that 23% of US businesses deliver their customer services via Facebook, with 12% via Twitter.

What is clear is that from a consumers perspective which department takes ownership is of little interest to them. All that is important is that their communications and outcomes are positive.

Katy Howell, MD at the social media agency Immediate Future concluded: “Companies need to redesign their processes for managing social customers. The starting point is to understand the voice of the customer. Looking for patterns and establishing a typical consumer journeys – the journey through issue resolution and the one across a sale.”

Until next time….

The Useful Social Media team.


The Social Media for Customer Service Summit is an in-depth, focused business conference on this critical new corporate opportunity.

With over 20 leading corporate practitioners sharing best practice, the conference is designed to help you develop better customer retention, positive brand sentiment and competitive advantage by incorporating social media into your customer service strategy.

Speakers contributing include Citi, Virgin Atlantic, Domino's Pizza, BT, Nokia, DHL, Zappos, KLM, Vodafone, and many more.

To download a conference brochure for all the info you need, go here: Customer Service Brochure



Next Reads

comments powered by Disqus