The Best Present is to Be Present

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The holidays are upon us! We have been gearing up with our friends and family for much-anticipated relaxation, and we are longing for those vacation days that imply a journey back to simpler times. However, simpler times did not include a society fully integrated with 24/7 non-stop social media. By now, businesses small and large have caught on to both the power of social media and the cost pushing it aside for the holidays.

Imagine this– the family is all gathered together, stomachs full and presents unwrapped. Conversations have begun to lull and no one can agree on a television channel. What happens to be the next event to occur? How about pulling out your phone and checking Facebook, maybe scrolling through a few tweets? You see, with mobile devices containing social media apps, the go-to source for entertainment these days can fit right into your pocket. If you are bouncing through your various social networks, you can guarantee your clients are doing the same. Because of this, there is a large possibility that contact with your business through social media will occur, especially if you are a retailer. With a new method of outreach, customer service has evolved into an ongoing job—nights, weekends and holidays. Although most clients understand the importance of business hours, the urgency of their inquiries are also often heightened during the holidays, as the value of their time has increased as well.

Taking your business to the next level means meeting your customer’s needs quickly and completely. The best practice is taking client care the extra mile and going above and beyond expectations. Disentangling a customer’s dispute on Christmas Eve not only shows that your business cares, but also gains you a client for life. This festive season filled with nostalgic films and delectable treats, allow your clients to have a special place in your holiday routine. Using these three goals you can show your customers they are remembered this season: We’re Everywhere, We’re Available and We’re Helping.

We’re Everywhere

Meet your clients where they are at by having a presence across multiple platforms. Although social media can be time-consuming, the more social channels you have active, the more options customers have to reach out to you. It’s important to remember that consumers are now accustomed to reaching out for help over social media. If nothing else, hit the top networks by setting up accounts for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Don’t have your customers hanging up their phones out of frustration.Eliminate unnecessary barriers between you and your customers, especially during the holidays, by utilizing convenient and measurable social media outlets. Having your business on these top social networks will maximize your reach and allow conversations to open up between you and the client.

We’re Available

Speed is the name of the game when showcasing your business’ availability. If you’re unable to check your profiles often, utilize a free tool such as Hootsuite. The sooner you answer social inquiries, the higher your customer loyalty will rise. It doesn’t take much to represent your company as customer-centric when you are actively communicating and solving problems. Understand that social media customers never sleep and are impatient. These same customers are also expensive to lose! According to a 2011 American Express Survey, 59% of Americans “would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.”

The more you invest in connecting with your clients, the higher your return will be on a loyal customer base. Even still, many businesses have specific operating hours that don’t always include night and weekends. By communicating your office availability clearly on your website and social profiles, you will decrease miscommunication and disappointment, and increase positive client or customer interaction.

We’re Helping

Answering all social inquiries with speed and efficiency is just the first step to great customer service. When applicable, go the extra mile and help outside your means. For example, if a client asks a question that doesn’t revolve around your business, first set the expectation that it is outside your area of expertise, but strive to answer it anyways. This will show that you genuinely care about them on a level that isn’t only business-centered leading to customer loyalty.

It is great to add a personable feel to your platforms. Add personality to show there is a real human behind your business accounts. The well-known online shoe retailer, Zappos, is great at this. Clients may not feel comfortable reaching out to you for help if they believe you are only online to generate leads. To prevent this, be conversation oriented. Make your posts into a discussion by asking open-ended questions and opinions of your subscribers. A great way to get creative and reach out to others is through video. Why not send personalized responses to client inquiries through a YouTube link from your business’ account? This not only increases engagement on all of your social channels by 100%, but also shows you focus on each and every inquiry.

Last but certainly not least, be proactive. Set up a stream to look at what people are saying about your brand so you can fix problems or thank people for positive reports. One way to do this is through Hootsuite. This free social media manager has a feature that allows you to set up searches with particular keywords. Your keyword in this instance would be the company name. For Facebook, you can conduct a search for your company name as well by selecting “Public Posts” as a search filter. In this instance, use quotes when searching. Here, you are able to generate thousands of posts from any account on Facebook that mentions your business.  Checking these daily can prevent dissatisfaction, as well as show appreciation for those who support you.

The holidays are a busy time of year and it is easy to forget the important things when wrapping up the year. Remember that the best present is to be present, and that includes your gift of service to your clients and partners in business. Happy Holidays from Our Team!