The Sunday Mail
Traditional communication methods move over, a new bug has hit the streets and it is hitting on everyone from teenagers to senior citizens.
It is the new companion and can keep anyone company anywhere, any time.
Nowadays it is normal to see people moving or sitting with their heads bowed typing or reading something held tightly in their palms. Friends, family, and even colleagues, can sit for hours without talking to each other with each concentrating on their phones. That is the power of social media.
Welcome to the new world order, where the globe can be traversed in a matter of seconds and without moving an inch. From breaking news around the world to the latest gossip doing the rounds, trends in politics, religion, sport, music or fashion.
Social media has it all. Social media is ruling the world.
Businesses have joined the bandwagon and instead of cold calling on clients, businesses have embraced the social media movement. Governments and businesses around the world now own and manage social media pages.
It is quite normal for organisations to be found on at least on one or all of the major social sites. The sites vary from WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn to Tumblr. These are the often used ones.
It is now in the past that social media was for personal interactions, for businesses are grabbing the chance too and using it to engage and interact with their target markets.
It is the addictive nature of these sites that has seen many organisations invading such social media space and building communities around brands.
Smart businesses open their eyes to see where their customers spend their valuable time at and follow them there. The idea is to always be at the customer’s service so that they can engage, interact, update and handle any queries whenever the customer contacts them.
Constant touch with your customers is a sure way to build relationships, increase brand loyalty and increase revenue inflow. Organisations that are always communicating with their customers, whether in bad times or in good times, stand a better chance to bag more customers.
As much as social media offers so many advantages, from easy accessibility to quick feedback, brand enhancement, management of reviews to cheaper ways to market products, organisations that decide to use these sites must also be committed to be present all the time.
It is true that the modern customer is impatient and spoilt when it comes to waiting and wanting answers as soon as yesterday. Just recently a friend of mine had a problem with his wifi activation and contacted the service provider on its Twitter handle.
It took the organisation three good hours to restore the service and my friend was becoming irritated because the organisation purports that they have round-the-clock customer service and three hours was just too much for him.
On the other hand, some organisations do not even update their pages with fresh content and queries and complaints go for months, if not years, without any resolve. This is a bad act in customer service because once a company can afford to neglect a page or pages, then it is quite possible that it is capable of doing the same with its customers.
Customers take pride in organisations that put effort to make them feel wanted and 24/7 customer support on social media is what they rightfully need.
Gone are the days when one has to be physically present at the organisation’s brick-and-mortar premises and register a query or complement them for a great customer experience. This has been replaced by interaction on social media forums.
Social media has become so handy that it saves both time and money. In recent months there has been a lot of advertising going on by banks as they move into paperless operations.
Again, social media is one of the platforms that customers can use to do their banking transactions.
The increasing subscribers on these sites makes it impossible for businesses to ignore as doing so would only mean ignoring existing and potential customers. Just like the one-on-one services offered by our own Zimbabwean prophets, social media also offers the same to businesses and their customers.
When customers post issues or concerns on social media, all they are asking for is a well-articulated satisfactory response and once that is provided, they feel well treated and that customer will not only be loyal to the organisation but is likely to share the good experience with other potential customers.
It is also important for organisations to be always present on their pages and attend to every issue that may be posted there. Normally, customers that endure a bad customer experience in the hands of the organisation may want to air their frustrations on social media so as to embarrass or tarnish the image of the organisation and in the process hurt its brand.
Organisations facing such negative backlash must know that when posts of such nature are posted on social media, current customers and potential customers will be present and watching. Their response is of paramount importance as it will influence these other customers’ future buying decisions.
Social media is not just a promotional arena, it is a platform for organisations to engage their customers in real time and keeping them happy through engagements. Customers feel happy whenever they deal with organisations that are accessible and responsive to their issues and concerns on a timely basis.
Remember the digital age has given customers more power and influence and organisations must never be confrontational with customers on social media as this may end up breaking good business relationships.
Cresencia Marjorie Chiremba, is a marketing enthusiast with a strong passion for customer service. For comments and suggestions, she can be reached on [email protected] or on 0712 979 461.