Beth Dockins, Director of Customer Service for Scott’s Miracle-Gro, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss Scotts approach to social media customer service, social media “tribes”, and how the Scotts brand has evolved to becoming an informational and educational company for lawn and garden owners.
Read on for some of the highlights and tweetable moments, or listen to the full podcast.
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“We have a personalized approach, we have real people speaking to real people.” -@bethdockins (tweet this)
With the rise in “do-it-yourselfers” and homeowners who want to be able to maintain their own lawn but don’t necessarily know how, Scotts has been able to provide informational and educational materials on their @LawnGardenHelp handle and in their Facebook community. Facebook users have proven to be particularly active during the daylight hours, posting their photos and helping each other with common lawn care and garden problems.
As a result of their active online community, the Scotts brand has embraced social media customer service so much so that most of its customers don’t ever want to pick up the phone when something is wrong with their lawn or garden; they’d rather tweet or Facebook a picture of their issue and wait for a Scotts representative to figure out what’s wrong.
This approach to customer service has evolved tremendously over the last few years to the point where Beth’s team of social media representatives are well-versed on all different social channels and are able to address and answer questions regardless of where they come from. In addition to online support and education, Scotts has in-person representatives at major retail stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s so that customers can come in and talk to Scotts professionals about what they should do. Because Scotts brand is sold only in third party retail outlets, they work closely with these retail outlets when they’re coming up with their educational materials so that they can cross-promote. With this approach, everyone wins.
Scotts content heavily depends on the weather – sometimes they have had to push back even the best-laid plans for the month because of a natural disaster or freak snowstorm.
In this week’s #HolySocial segment, Zena talks about #tornadoweek, a project from The Weather Channel that is being spearheaded by the channel’s interns in the office. To increase mentions for Tornado Week, the interns are increasing the speed of the wind in the intern room every time someone tweets about #tornadoweek and broadcasting it live on their website. If they reach 1,000,000 tweets this week, they’ll turn it up to the equivalent of an EF-5 tornado!
Social Media Stat of the Week
The IDC has published its latest quarterly findings on PC sales for both desktop and laptop models, and has found that this has been the worst quarter ever for the PC industry as a whole, with Windows 8 effectively taking a toll on sales instead of increasing sales as projected. Specifically, PC sales decreased 14% in the first quarter and Apple computer sales, while not mentioned in this particular report, also decreased by 7.5%. Jeff speculates that perhaps some of the market who never really needed a PC is now going straight for the tablet and that more and more people are using tablets and other mobile devices instead of purchasing new computers. While Jeff believes we’ll never truly see the death of the PC, Jay disagrees given emerging technologies such as Google Glass.
Four Your Information
How did you get involved in social media?
Beth was working for someone who told her she had to get on LinkedIn back in 2007. They talked about how to leverage LinkedIn’s power for their B2B business, and proceeded to start using Twitter as well. “Then I started following customer service folks,” Beth says, “and bumped into Chris Brogan, and then really had my eyes opened to what the potential was to bringing it into our business.”
What do you like best about social media?
Scotts is very targeted in trying to make real connections, a la the Southwest Airlines approach. They try to bring humor into the messages they post, although they have experienced some backlash at first because of the company’s 175 year old tradition. For Beth, the best part about social is seeing the engagement and fan photos that they’ve accumulated over the years, showing that they’ve actually done some important work for people.
What do you like least about social?
Beth has a love/hate relationship with the “always-on” approach to social that Scotts has been known for. Being nimble and quick is so important in social media customer service, but it can sometimes be a burden for the customer service team in charge.
If you could do a Skype call with any living person, who might that be and why?
Angela Ahrendts, CEO Burberry, would be Beth’s call of choice because of what she’s been able to do in social for the Burberyy brand. She mentions that while the Burberry brand might not be accessible to everyone, their social media presence is, which is an admirable and difficult position to achieve.
See you next week!