While Generation X may see social media as a flurry of obnoxious hashtags and selfies, it’s a lot more than that, especially when it comes to running a business. Social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter are replacing traditional customer relationship management techniques and helping more businesses use social media in customer service to build a unified brand across many platforms.
The brands that do it best are not only using social media to showcase their latest products, they’re using it to interact with customers and provide superior customer service. After all, social media should be “social” right? Here are three brands that use social media to boost their customer service.
Though Starbucks is one of the most popular global chains and is visited by millions of people across the world every day, the company can still get a bad rap sometimes for being the “enemy” of small coffee shops. So for Starbucks, customer service and reputation management are of the utmost importance. That’s why they use social media to stay on top of brand management and customer service.
In 2012, the company made a push to start one-on-one customer engagement across their social media accounts. This included responding to criticism and welcoming positive feedback. They also started an additional account, @MyStarBucksIdeas where customers can submit their ideas for making the entire Starbucks experience better. That account alone has more than 45,000 followers, while the Starbucks Facebook page has more than 35 million likes.
Since branding themselves as the “uncarrier” of mobile companies, T-Mobile has been making a splash in the social world. A recent study from Social Bakers revealed that from March 2012 to May 2012, T-Mobile received 2,541 questions or comments on their social media accounts, and responded to 86 percent of them, making them the second most socially devoted global brand, coming in behind Dutch Airline company KLM.
T-Mobile has done an exceptional job of forging real relationships with their customers via social media. In addition to announcing their groundbreaking “uncarrier” promotions, the company uses Facebook and Twitter to find qualified job applicants. What better place to locate your next employees than in a community of followers who are already fans of your company?
The approach to customer service doesn’t just help T-Mobile engage with current customers, it also helps them build new business.
“If you first engage and create a great social relationship, when you serve up things that are relevant, [fans] actually help share them with their friends,” SVP of brand and advertising Peter DeLuca said. “That’s really how the two mix together.”
When it comes to customer service, airlines need to be at the top of their game. Travel can be stressful and uncomfortable and airlines need to do everything they can to alleviate the cons of travelling, and build brand loyalty. One company that got it right is AirAsia. In October 2013, the company celebrated 2 million likes by offering free seats to their Facebook followers. The company was one of the first airlines to embrace social media marketing and has enjoyed the dividends.
AirAsia also frequently posts contests to encourage engagement, including their #LoveIsInTheAir contest in February, which asked visitors to submit photos of them and a loved one who a chance to win free seats.
When it comes to running a business in the 21st century, there’s more to customer service than a call center. Companies are reaching out to their customers through social media platforms, and the new efforts have proven successful. Have you had a positive experience with a brand via social media? Or a negative one? Did we miss a great example? Let us know in the comments below!
– By Jennifer Thayer
Jennifer is a technology writer who is passionate about covering the latest news, fun gadgets and helpful apps. Follow her on Twitter to see what tips and tricks she has to offer next.