By Ezekiel Olande, Digital consultant
You have seen the ads all over social media and have likely received tons of bulk texts wishing you a happy customer service week. Brands almost tripping over themselves trying to show you they care for you. You have seen beautiful decorations at your local stores, corporate executives dressing weirdly and doing the ‘Jerusalema’ dance albeit out of rhythm!
Welcome to Customer Service Week 2020! A time when most brands attempt to humanize themselves in a bid to celebrate your continued patronage. And yes there are some brands that are winning in customer service all year round and this week is the culmination of their efforts to provide you with exceptional service. Then we have those who wing all year through and go big for one week and then it’s back to business as usual.
This year’s celebrations have been different due to COVID19 restrictions and so most brands have taken to digital media to showcase their activities. To say the virus has forced digital transformation on many organizations is an understatement. Organizations that were dragging their feet in this journey have had to move in leaps and bounds in a short 6-7 months. And this is a good thing.
But how can digital media lead to exceptional customer service? It all starts as with everything else, strategy. What are you hoping to achieve by utilizing digital media? And this must be driven from the top down. A winning formula is not left to a lowly social media specialist to execute but is owned by the C-suite. This will incorporate content management, engagement, social listening, promotion and M&E.
Once the strategy has been nailed down. Select the appropriate channels. And here we need to be clear. Digital is not only social media. It also incorporates email and content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), inbound marketing, Pay Per Click (PPC) amongst others. The trick here is your marketing mix. We do not recommend that your organization attempts to be on all these platforms as your marketing efforts will be spread thin and you will not achieve your ROI.
Digital marketing allows you to reach your audience right where they are and so it is important to know where they are and target your efforts there. A digital strategy is only complete once you figure out your turn around time in providing feedback. The use of a CRM becomes very important in closing the feedback loop and providing exceptional customer service. (You can read more about this in our article on Social CRM).
Back to COVID19 and the new normal, brands are quickly realizing they have to change how they interact with their clients and having to drop their bold salesy approach and humanize their efforts. Brands that are winning on customer service all year round are winning the hearts of their clients by their campaigns and responsiveness.
They are perceived as putting the wellbeing of their employees and customers front and center in all their efforts. Researchers have pointed out what most of us already assumed that screen time consumption has increased during this pandemic. This means that brands have to focus on their engagement with clients and the best way of doing this is providing relevant content that leads to higher organic content consumption.
So how do you create organic content? Co-creation is a very useful strategy as it allows brands and customers to collaborate in creating content. Such strategies go a long way to build an empathetic brand. The beauty of co-creation is that it works both for b2b and b2c businesses. An added bonus is that it reduces the cost of content production, increases your brand affinity and has a wider appeal than sponsored content.
Global brands like Unilever, Lego, IKEA, Coca Cola amongst others have harnessed the power of content co-creation with amazing success. Locally, we have seen food chains like Java asking their customers what they would like to see added to their menus and incorporating some of the ideas. This kind of digital interaction knows no limits and the outcomes can include things like new product ideas, ways to overcome delivery chain problems, or even technical solutions to complex manufacturing questions.
Organizations that have their customers’ best interests especially during these challenging times do not need a week to celebrate their customers. And their customers know it too! These organizations have already harnessed the power of digital media and have created meaningful engagements with their customers.
And it’s never too late to start. These strategies can be quickly implemented as long as there is buy in from the top.
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