The other day, I noticed on Facebook that my sister had "liked" a major big box retailer. What's odd is that I knew she didn't really care about them; she would switch brands in a heartbeat for lower prices. That's a problem many companies face now--a flurry of clicks, people "like" them, the buzz wears off, and the customer still doesn't $how the love!
When social started to become hot, businesses rushed to get monitoring solutions. Implemented as silos, these solutions have forced companies to become social spectators, struggling to generate social business value. Most businesses provide answers and experiences in social that are completely disconnected and different from other channels, leading to frustrated customers venting about the company in the social cloud.
So, how do you go from "monitor" to "monetize" in social? By taking a unified approach to social customer engagement! Here are some tried-and-true practices for success.
* Listen closely. First understand where your customers "live socially"--is it Facebook, Twitter, online forums, or somewhere else? This will allow you to focus your social initiative on the "places" that matter. Once you know where they live, monitor for product or service issues, feedback, ideas, and sentiment. Pay attention to frequently repeated themes for possible action.
* Engage selectively. Some customers have greater social or economic value for your business than others. Find out more about customers before engaging. What is their purchase history and what would be their long-term value to your business? What is their social value? Are their opinions trusted? How many Twitter followers or Facebook friends do they have? How often do they get retweeted? Have they already engaged with you on traditional channels and are expressing their frustrations on social channels? Engage selectively based on a 360-degree view of business rules and context, separating out the signal from the noise.
* Respond appropriately. Provide consistent, relevant answers from a "single source of truth" or knowledge base, but consider the channel. Shorten social and mobile responses. Set service levels intelligently. In the case of existing customers, it should be aligned with their service levels on traditional channels--a platinum customer should be treated as platinum in both traditional and social channels. Publish useful information and answers from FAQs back to the social cloud.
* Transition seamlessly. At times, social conversations will need to be taken private (for example, over chat or cobrowse), to solve a complex problem, sell one-to-one, handle an explosive situation, or for other such reasons. …