How Customer Service can Devastate Your Social Media Plans

Social Pros with Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman, entrepreneur@petershankman

Special Guest: Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman - entrepreneur, author, and consultant - joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss the essentials of social media customer service, including managing social media presence, balancing marketing and customer service, and empowering employees to make a difference.

Bragging and Drama

The internet is filled with bragging and drama: bragging when you have a good experience and drama when you don’t. As a public-relations and new media all-star, Peter Shankman is interested in how brands foster those good experiences and try to avoid the bad ones.

Peter has recently had two excellent customer service experiences, both of them – perhaps surprisingly – were with Google. “Not only did they meet my expectations; they exceeded them beyond words.” His expectations were admittedly low, but by blowing him out of the water with fast, helpful service, Google maintained a customer and gained his undying loyalty.

“We can buy from anywhere, and prices are relatively the same,” he says. To keep his business, “You gotta give me that experience.”

nicecompaniesfinishfirst How Customer Service can Devastate Your Social Media PlansCustomer service is evolving with the integration of social media. If unhappy customers tweet that they need help, they don’t want to see a response tweet that just says, “Follow us, then DM us your customer number, and maybe we can help you.” Those customers want immediate responses with immediate results. But in order for that to happen, the customer service representatives need to be empowered to solve problems – both in social media, and in real life.

Why have social media customer service if, when the customer reaches out, you’re not going to fix his problem?

If you focus on the “help” first, then your audience will do promotion on your behalf. Having an amazing experience makes them want to share it.

Social Media Number of the Week: 27%

According to a new study by Ahalogy, 27% of active Pinterest users “can’t stand” the new Promoted Pins. This is compared with 42% who are neutral and 31% who don’t mind them.

Of course, introducing ads to a social platform is never popular. Peter points out that Tumblr got a lot of pushback about introducing ads, but now users don’t even seem to notice them.

Pinterest’s continued growth has been interesting because it hasn’t exploded the way some other platforms have, but it has maintained steady growth. It could be due to the fact that instead of trying to do everything, Pinterest focuses on doing one thing really well.

Holy Social

Arby’s aired a 13-hour long commercial a few weeks ago in an effort to shatter the record for the longest television commercial. The commercial was an uncut, 13-hour shot of a brisket cooking in a smoker. At the end, the chef cuts off some of the brisket to make it into an Arby’s sandwich.

13hourbrisket How Customer Service can Devastate Your Social Media Plans

During the 13-hour live broadcast, Arby’s gave away $20k in prizes and engaged with watchers on Twitter. This is an interesting case of creating an opportunity to use real-time marketing, rather than waiting for one to arise.

Peter points out that a PR stunt for the sake of a PR stunt is pointless. In this case, though, they took a fun idea and found ways to include the audience in the stunt, and he tracks it as a win for Arby’s.

See you next week!

  • http://blog.socialmediahq.com/ Nick Robinson

    Great episode, and I think customer service is often overlooked when businesses approach social media. If you think about the new economy we’re in, especially in my field (tech), business models have been turned upside down with subscription models, where retention is 90% of revenue attainment for each client. I think Peter alluded to this in your podcast: Companies screw up and customers are done. Oh and the angry customers just happen to have a megaphone to spread their negative experience. Seems like a no brainer to me for businesses to develop a social support team!

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