Magazine article CRM Magazine

Take a Healthy Approach to Social Media

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Take a Healthy Approach to Social Media

Article excerpt

SOCIAL MEDIA is emerging as a viable forum for sales, marketing, and customer service professionals to connect with customers. But be careful not to treat it as "just another service channel."

I've already heard too many CRM professionals describe social media this way. They are likely doing this to make sense of something new, but I'm concerned that they are oversimplifying things.

First, social media is not like some of the more traditional customer interaction channels, because it's not a private and secure channel--it's open and public. If a customer service rep slips up during a phone, email, or Web chat interaction, your organization might lose that customer. But if a rep makes the same mistake on social media, you stand to lose many more. Clearly, there's more at stake when interacting with customers in such a public forum, and a company's approach to the new channel should not be taken lightly.

Another reason social media is not just another service channel is privacy. Organizations can't simply divulge sensitive and private customer, company, or pricing information on social sites. A banking company can't divulge a customer's financial information, a healthcare company can't reveal sensitive patient information, and a company with a tiered partner program shouldn't disclose a top-level partner's pricing discounts for other partners to see. When privacy or more handholding is required, organizations should offer to bring the interaction to a more private and secure channel.

Companies also shouldn't expect to solve the particulars of every customer interaction on Twitter in 140 characters or less. When a richer interaction is required, organizations should again be prepared to take the interaction to another channel.

Conversely, organizations shouldn't go overboard and assume that social media's sudden popularity means it is everyone's favorite communication channel. …

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