Thanking great service and the positive consequence
It all started on a Friday afternoon, several weeks ago, when I gave a box of Gratitude Cookies to my FedEx driver. He does a great job of collecting and delivering all the packages my business sends day in and day out and he has a great attitude. So I gave him a box of cookies to enjoy, as an expression of my thankfulness.
And then I posted my good deed on Twitter.
My reasoning was more to share an example of how you can make someone’s day with a simple act than to pat myself on the back.
But short time later, I got a tweet from @FedexRobin thanking me for “tipping our driver with cookies” and for my business.
Wow, they were paying attention to what’s being said about them on Twitter? Furthermore they’re engaging in conversation with their customers in this arena? I was surprised.
Yes, …still, on this day in 2009!
I’m often asked by colleagues what the point of Twitter or Facebook is. A lot of business people still think Facebook is only for teenagers or for reconnecting with long lost high school friends. Even more don’t understand that Twitter can be a useful business communication tool (or they assume everyone is tweeting about what they had for breakfast).
Small businesses missing out
Those who don’t get it are missing out on making valuable connections with their audiences. A few days later, I found an article by ZDNet social media reporter Jennifer Leggio on the social media efforts of FedEx – part of her series on the “top 10 Fortune 500 companies doing social media right.”
Since most of us are used to hearing stories of how smaller companies use innovative technology better, here’s an opportunity for David to learn from Goliath.
Top 4 ways social media can help a small business’ customer relations:
1.) Humanizing the company i.e. remember sense of humor!
Often the bigger the company, the less friendly it seems. But smaller companies can be impersonal too. How many web sites have you been to where there isn’t any information about the people behind the organization?
Social media is a great outlet to connect with customers, vendors and other constituents on a more personalized level. Here is where you can showcase humor and entertain, as well as educate.
2.) Listening i.e. partner with customers
Unlike traditional media, through which companies talk AT their audiences, social media is a two-way conversation. You can tap into the ideas and input of people using your products. You get immediate feedback. Plus customers like to know that you value what they have to say and want to feel more like a partner. That a company seems to value my business and engage in conversation with me kind of gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.
3.) Handling issues i.e. show your responsiveness
By participating in conversations with customers, you hear about issues before they become big problems. You become known for being responsive when you address dissatisfaction in public and win points from everyone watching when you handle it properly.
4.) Building loyalty i.e. the know, like, trust factors
If you’re showcasing your company’s personality and listening to your customers, you’re building the know, like, and trust factors that contribute to people doing business with you. Developing and strengthening relationships leads to customer loyalty.
When I believe a business actually cares about working with me, I’m going to be more forgiving next time something goes wrong and more willing to recommend them to others.
Companies large and small can use social media strategically and proactively.
Face to face and building community through other channels
Since we don’t necessarily know many of our clients from personal, face-to-face interactions anymore, we have to rely on holding conversations and developing relationships with them through other channels. And social media is a most efficient way to accomplish that.
Are you as connected to your customers and vendors as you could be?
- Lori Saitz and her customer service series on Women Grow Business;
- Check out other companies profiled in Jennifer’s series and how they’re using social media with their customer communities;
- Businesses get a hand with Twitter, Facebook;
- A good ‘how-to’ for using Twitter for customer service;
- 7 Impressive Twitter customer service/brand management cases
Guest contributor Lori Saitz is founder of Zen Rabbit Baking Company. She helps people show appreciation for and give recognition to others. The main (delicious!) tool her team uses to help accomplish this important feat is through The Gratitude Cookie(tm). A thin, crunchy cross between a butter and a sugar cookie, The Gratitude Cookie is so named because if you’re eating the cookies, you’re encouraged to think about something you are grateful for as you munch on each one.