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Listen, understand, connect, engage, service

Today’s issue of the Rust Report carries an article about Australians’ use of social media, quoting a report by Fifth Quadrant.

The article quotes the study to state that only 16% of Australian consumers have ever used social media for a customer service enquiry (with the proportion being higher at 29% among Gen Y consumers). According to the article and the report, fewer than one in 10 Australians have used this channel for customer service in the last three months.

This represents a huge opportunity for any organization with a large customer base and a large service component to their business.  The very act of listening to conversations about service sends a signal to the customer that you care enough about them to want to engage.

And surely engaging with consumers is a definition of customer service?

Understanding their concerns or opinions means you can meet their requirements sooner, which means you do so on your terms.

For example, the conversation “I must get my car serviced, there’s a nasty squeak coming from the wheels” (my own situation yesterday!) is different from “just had my car serviced, a shocking experience and the cost was outrageous”, which is different again to “thinking about buying a car, who has an opinion on servicing with brand X”. Stepping in before I book my service means you have a chance (if you are the brand of car I own) to get the business.

And I’d be impressed by your attention.

Engaging in a consumer’s existing conversation also demonstrates attention and empathy, and lets you glean what’s really going on.

And the final step, the one that’s seemingly missing according to this report, is action: how can you help? Can you solve the problem? Can you provide the service and charge a fee? Can you up-sell?

Time to listen, understand, connect, engage, service.

Alan Smith: is Head of Customer Engagement at DIGIVIZER.