Ineffective social media operations is costing US business $40 billion each year. (Social Media Today)
Reputation is synonymous with sales and bottom line, what people are saying about your brand online matters. A brands success takes a commitment to social sales. Showcasing inventory is important, but today going online your customer service strategy is key or your business will flatline.
Management must demand sales, marketing and customer care all be in the same bag. These teams must be working together to blend a service to their customers online or the company is at risk to lose a fortune.
Top 5 components to social reputation
Track what your customers are saying about your products on your pages and in the communities where your clients are. Implement tools to help reduce the time to respond, capture and analyze data on the web, blogs, forums, even television, that provide valuable feedback to customer service. Reputology, Mention, The Brand Grader and SimilarWeb [Social Media Today].
With the majority of feedback online every response is a best practice and it’s adding value to brand equity and establishing reputation, positive or negative. Negative comments are opportunities to show your brands commitment to customers and resolve. Skilled staff prompt in addressing all comments and issues and that can execute customer solutions without chain of command approval proves preparation. Friendly, professional solution staff represents a brand that really cares. A recent survey by Eptica [Forbes] , shows some companies can still take days or too many hours to respond by social pages and the best companies are responding in minutes. Know in advance who’s on watch for comment submissions and reviews, who establishes brand messaging and who leads the brand in delivering the brand service commitment to the customer. Poor messaging can quickly jeopardize a brand reputation and well executed solutions are opportunities to retain and attract new customers. A support team that can offer refunds and rebates without chain of command approval increases resolution speed and customer satisfaction. Keep in mind, brand could stand to save costs by just asking the customers what they would prefer in exchange for the original item. Many times what they might want is less than the standard refund options available.
When a response turns a negative feedback into a positive experience, trust and loyalty is established and results in future business.
Handling Negativity -
Not getting every order right is part of business. How a brand handles the problems separates the good and best companies to work with. How comments are received and most important, executed to resolve affects all future business. 80% of customers are won over by response alone, show that your brand can go the extra mile.
Develop on Positives -
All reviews are opportunities. Good reviews are invaluable! Capitalize on the positive feedback and share them on your social pages to highlight them over the negative comments. Future customers will also notice them as much as negative, if not more. Actively managing your online profiles, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Facebook accounts and making sure even your brand images and contact details are correct will improve your reviews. Suggest customers leave feedback on your pages, but use caution on other sites where there are limitations with this. Positive reviews with specific brand representatives make a customer's experience very personal and those are great shares to promote. Make it clear where customers can leave reviews on social pages to encourage getting these submitted, make sure the links are available to your emails and website.
Measure and Evaluate -
Measure and re-evaluate - Track your reputation using the most simple search engine tools that are available at no cost and as your goals increase your brand can seek higher-end tools than can track data such as competitors [Idealware]. Build on the positive experiences of social branding as soon as possible. Ask for reviews, feedback, share good reviews to your pages to encourage others to leave more, encourage one-on-one positive experiences with staff members. A team that meets regularly to discuss issues and make necessary changes will be ahead of the game.
Avoid these mistakes:
While your approach shouldn’t be stilted or robotic, use tools to get the basics in spelling and grammar right, such as Grammarly.
Avoid politics, race and making gender stereotypes. Humor in your strategy is important but consider customer neutrality. Brand credibility is dependent on consistency, establishing trust is in the details. Social strategy must be an ongoing team process of daily, monthly and yearly goals. Build on the small successes in the plan and learn from any mistakes.
Messaging is a commitment to your customers.
Consistent service through online responses could lead to being able to charge more over time for same products as competitors and retaining loyal customer base. With so many brands entirely online, social media can make or break branding. What the customer has to say on your brand pages is essential to your profits and future customer business. Digital strategy isn’t just an extension of friendly customer service, your brand’s social strategy has become your greatest sales tool.
For more insight on end to end eCommerce strategy visit this resources page.