10 Ways to Rock #Twitter for Business

So, your company is on Twitter, that’s fabulous! Let me ask you, since you’ve been here have you garnered any leads? Seen an increase in customer engagement? Noticed a difference in bottom line sales?  If not, you may want to give some of these ideas a try. If Twitter is a good fit for your business getting creative might be all you need to do to see a real return. Twitter for Business with logo

  1. Follow your customers and encourage them to follow you back. This is easiest of course if you are a smaller business and know their names, if you’re larger make sure you follow back.  If you reach out first they will love that and you can DM each other if there is ever an issue either of you would rather not have play out in the newsfeed.
  2. Delight and surprise your followers when possible. This can mean anything from a shout-out to a random upgrade – can you image the share potential here? (In my opinion ALL airlines should randomly upgrade a Twitter follower each day – the engagement would be off the charts and even disgruntled customers would want in on that game! e.g. “If you’re flying in the next 4 hours tweet us your flight # – someone’s going first class baby!”  See?
  3. Tell your business story using your customers experiences and mention them when you do. You’ll be helping them build an audience and they will appreciate that.
  4. Listen to your customers and offer them solutions to their issues. For example, if you’re not in the pizza business and you know a business that delivers on time, pass on their info when someone complains about wait times. The key here is to provide value to your customers.
  5. Use Follow Friday (#FF) and fill your tweet with customers. Caveat – don’t go nuts, one or two tweets each week is enough to call out your customers but not enough to tick the rest of your followers off.
  6. Ask your followers what they want. Make sure you reach out to your audience and see how you might be able to do better – they will likely tell their following if you implement one of their suggestions.
  7. Do not leave them hanging. If a customer complains, comments or just gives you a shout-out be sure to respond as soon as possible. Less than 5 minutes is optimal. No matter what they are complaining about they will remember that you responded promptly with an offer of help. Set up notifications for your phone if no one is monitoring the account 24/7.
  8. Speaking of offers – give loyal followers exclusive Twitter offers – Have them tweet to the cashier for a special discount or fill in a promo code they only get by DMing you. Get creative if you can’t manage all those DM’s.
  9. If you have a large following and a large number of customer issues, consider creating a separate account for customer service. That way you can keep the brand account for the fun stuff and handle complaints without them falling through the cracks.
  10. Have fun. Show the less than serious side of your business at times. People want to engage with people, not businesses so don’t be afraid to show your human side.  Oh, and if there’s more than one person tweeting make sure to sign your tweets so we know who’s who.

Your turn – what’s worked for your business on Twitter? What have I left out? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Happy tweeting!

3 Things You Should Never Say To A Customer

excellentcustomerservice

Each of these has happened to me, and they have all resulted in me taking my business elsewhere. What about you, what key customer service points are you looking for from businesses? Which ones are you delivering?

1)  “If you had contacted me earlier I could have taken care of this for you but now you will have to wait ”

Bottom line, you want clients to feel good about doing business with you, even if they have to be delayed. Most of us don’t mind a wait when we are treated kindly, fairly and with respect. Instead of admonishing customers say something like, ‘we’re working hard to get this done as quickly as possible ‘ or ‘you have my word that we will do what we can to make this work’ – now, no matter that the circumstances I feel good about doing business with you even with the delay. If you admonish your clients in a childish manner they will feel bad – feeling bad means lost business.

2) “See how poorly ‘insert competitor here’ does that job? Obviously we are the better choice”

If you have to resort to name-calling or put-downs to elevate your case, you’ve lost me. If your product, service, customer experience and follow up can’t WOW me on its own merit you need to put your energy into fixing your product or service and creating a better customer experience rather than into putting down your competitors.

3) “We understand your time is valuable and appreciate your patience” …..while you wait 10+ minutes for a customer service rep….

This one drives me crazy especially when it happens every time you call. If you truly understood how valuable my time was you would hire more customer service reps and not make me wait at all, or you would credit my account for each minute waited. Attempting to placate me with meaningless platitudes only proves to me how out of touch you are with your customer. What it doesn’t do is make me enjoy the wait, or justify it, regardless of how surprised you might be with the ” higher than average call volumes.”

Customer service is the one area that can instantly level the playing field regardless of company size or resources. One very satisfied customer with a Twitter account can beef up your bottom line in minutes. You dont even need a superior product if you get the customer experience right. So take a moment to audit yours. Pretend you’re a customer or better yet, get someone to walk through the experience of your company from every customer touchpont and see where you might be able to enhance the system. Sometimes all it takes is a second to turn a so-so experience into a WOW one.

Gathering Customer Information With Social Media

Have you cultivated a social media following? If yes, then you have an opportunity you may be missing – information gathering.
In most cases a loyal audience will tell you anything you want to know, within reason. And most of us want to know a lot about our customer right? So, start asking.

Ask them to comment on blog posts, ask them specific questions with specific answers in customer surveys — tip: keep surveys short, really short – 5 questions max. — or ask them one specific question at a time with Facebook questions. You can also insert mini surveys into your monthly newsletter or ask something on Twitter or in your status update on LinkedIn. You might also ask a question in a LinkedIn group, respondents are likely colleagues not customers but they may have keen insight into your customers wants and needs.

What to ask? Ask them about your products, the good the bad and the ugly. Ask them what they do with their spare time, ask them what technology they use, how they use it and how they think it can be improved. Ask them if they are married, do they have kids, what is important to them and where they would like to see themselves in the future. The more personal and intimate the questions, the better off you are keeping the survey private (off Facebook) and possibly anonymous.

The information you gather should be relevant to your product or service. It should be designed to help you move your company forward and most of all it should give you insight into your best customer. When you know your customer and what they want, you can set about the business of giving it to them, which after all, is the point of being in business in the first place.

Have you used social media to gather customer information? Which tools have you used and how has it worked for you?

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