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Saturday, September 07, 2013 1:30 PM 

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Sep 7
Author: Nilanjan Chaudhuri | Global Marketing and Communications Leader
at Aditya Birla Minacs


With “everyone” on social media today, it is so much easier to complain. And on Monday this week, a customer paid for a promoted tweet to vent about a British airline losing his luggage and its slow response to his predicament.
Millions of us are on social media talking about our experiences as consumers. And it seems that the negative stories far outnumber the good ones. Remember too, the negative tends to go viral. Who can forget the irate musician who wrote a song about his guitar broken in transit by a US airline, placed it on YouTube and then hit global viral immortality within days!
Businesses are challenged by this social-viral access that their customers enjoy. But clearly, this presents huge opportunities for them to engage and develop stronger relationships with consumers as well.
Social Customer Service
  Social CRM: Re-defining Customer Engagement
Recall Peter Shankman’s half-kidding tweeting while his flight was about to take off for home that fetched a Morton’s Steakhouse delivery man to Newark to receive him with his favorite steak. And, guess what? Peter tells the story on his blog, himself calling it “The Greatest Customer Service Story Ever Told, Starring Morton’s Steakhouse!” The blog fetched hundreds of comments and went viral on Twitter.
Given this “people power”, our ability to listen to them and to act in real time, has assumed the greatest importance in sustaining brand experience. In fact, as Jeff Bezos said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room.”
So are you listening to what’s being said about you online? And are you able to act on such insight in real time? Are you engaging positively to build credibility and trust—even when some customer experiences go wrong?
Social customer service must be delivered in a seamless way replicating the cross-channel world our customers inhabit today. The traditional contact center would be far out of its depth in the social-mobile-real world. However, an “integrated” one with multi-channel capabilities could at once listen, engage and resolve customer issues.
Not just that, with that social listening data combined with other demographic and financial databases available today, you could even target new sales/cross-sales offers to customers.


What is your social CRM strategy? Have you implemented a closed-loop approach to successfully get on top of what many are challenged by today?
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By Alex S on  
Monday, September 16, 2013 4:55 PM

Social media is not just a medium for networking, but a powerful platform where people can voice their likes and dislikes. Brands can definitely use the power of social channels to connect with their consumers and understand the market demands. Expert insights into social conversations can help companies improve their service, and even create specialized programs that fulfil the customer expectations. V.intersting perspectives presented in the blog.

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By Nilanjan Chaudhuri on  
Friday, September 20, 2013 2:00 PM

@Alex, Thank you for your comment and appreciation. Yes indeed, we are seeing businesses using the social channel more and more to engage and understand their consumers. The possibilities are happily endless!

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By Nithya on  
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 1:59 PM

Thought provoking! It is indeed very important to not only be aware of what is being said about you but also to ensure that you respond in a way that adds points to your image. Yes, it is now that much easier for a customer to get their voices heard and unfortunately in an online space, the negative comments far outnumber the positive. It is probably due to the simple logic that those who wish to vent their frustrations search for opportunities to do that while those who get great service take it for granted and do not give it another thought.Honestly, how many of us take the time post our joy at having received excellent customer service at a restaurant, the bank or anyplace else? As often and easily as it said, it is probably not often that companies manage to turn around a negative customer experience and make it a shining example of their great customer service - something to strive towards? Definitely!

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By Chandan N on  
Wednesday, September 18, 2013 5:50 PM

Interesting. Informative. Well put.

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By Nilanjan Chaudhuri on  
Friday, September 20, 2013 2:01 PM

Thank you Nithya for your insightful comments. Your point about “not taking the time” to post/socialize occasions or establishments from whom we received excellent service is very interesting, thoughtful too! Why do you think we don’t acknowledge on social media? What could a business do to ensure that?

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By Nilanjan Chaudhuri on  
Thursday, September 19, 2013 3:30 PM

@Chandan: Thank you for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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By Nithya on  
Tuesday, September 24, 2013 4:41 PM

Thank you for your response. I think the lack of positive comments has a lot to do with the current times, in this age of instant gratification of practically every whim and fancy, people believe that they are entitled to the best, anything and everything that is offered would not match up to the monumental expectations that consumers have!!

Despite this seemingly insurmountable challenge, there are companies that build a reputation of great service. I think that they do it by offering exceptional customer service, which they achieve by having a combination of the best customer service personnel available, in addition to giving them the freedom to use their intelligence to deal with a customer's complaints in the way they see best to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution. When your front-line customer facing staff are limited to offering standard responses and not expected to think on their feet, a customer is bound to get frustrated by what they know are rote responses.

I have to say that I have been most impressed with the service I received when:
1. The person responding was quick to grasp my query
2. Offered me an immediate solution or give me a time-frame by when I can expect one
3. Kept me posted of progress and the resolution to my query
4. Was open to asking questions and feedback without necessarily sticking to a "script".

This kind of service can even make an irate customer sing your praises and as I said before such service will be mentioned and appreciated. The reason being that despite apparently starting off on the wrong foot, you were able to not only resolve the issue but you also did it in a manner that made your customer feel valued. And that is what matters!

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By Nilanjan Chaudhuri on  
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 6:05 PM

I agree Nithya, it is indeed all about the "customer". A business should focus on the question, "What can I do today that will make my customer know that I care?" and then go about implementing all the answers that make sense. While it is true that we cannot please everyone, we can keep trying by really knowing our customers!

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By Nithya on  
Saturday, September 28, 2013 1:19 PM

Absolutely! We indeed have to keep trying to make customers feel important, valued and happy.

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