Social Customer Service Provides Savvy Companies Competitive Advantage
As more companies realize the power of social media for marketing and sales, many have turned to the growing medium as a customer service channel as well. Customer service is one area that, if done right, can provide companies with sustainable competitive advantages. By understanding your market you can integrate customer service as part of an overall ‘customer experience’ that encompasses pre-purchase research, information gathering, and purchase all the way through after-market support and customer service.
Running with Big Shoe Brands and *Winning*
Take the most recent case of niche ecommerce site, Natural Running Store, who has not spent a cent on advertising or marketing, but instead took to social customer service to wow patrons with personalized service using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other social mediums to cultivate relationships with prospects and personalize messages. From this article in Social Media Examiner, Patton Gleason, the sites owner and CEO stated, “We’ve never used social media as a sales or promo tool, but as a relationship-building tool”. By taking a page from old school marketing and focus on the customer to the digital world with social media, Natural Running Store created a personalized ‘customer experience’ that even brick-and-mortar stores would be hard pressed to replicate. For instance, the image below (courtesy of Social Media Examiner) shows a customer tweeting a pic of his shoes, which Gleason subsequently responded with video, analyzing the wear and giving personal advice. This practice has served them well, launched in January 2011; Natural Running Store has been profitable from day one and hasn’t touched their initial modest marketing budget.
By using social media to embrace their customers and provide top-notch customer service they have achieved top search engine rankings, high conversion rates, huge customer engagement, testimonials and a loyal following of hard core runners who will likely be lifelong customers. In addition, Natural Running Store can use these relationships to extend their reach within the natural running market as happy customers act as brand advocates sharing the highly relevant, quality content coming from Natural Running Stores Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels.Continued on the next page