29
Sep
2008
0

Using Social Media for Customer Loyalty, Part 2

Part 1 of this series discussed two of the top reasons for using social media to build stronger customer relationships.  Part 2a today discusses another reason to use social media for customer loyalty: customer service. Part 3 will discuss steps to take in order to get started.

Recently at my panel Creating Customer Loyalty with Social Media at BlogWorld, much of our conversation revolved around the topic of customer service.  Two of our panelists, Tony Hsieh from Zappos.com and Frank Eliason from Comcast, talked in depth about using Twitter to reach out to existing customers in various ways. Twitter allows for real-time, ongoing two-way conversations, and both of these companies are creating those with their customers. (To learn more about Twitter, check out this quick overview, Twitter in Plain English, from the CommonCraft Show.)

Zappos.com

The culture at Zappos.com is very people-focused and empowers employees.  Zappos.com has many of their employees Twittering; 448 to be exact!  You can track their tweets via this microsite, where you can also track mentions of Zappos.com and some of the brands they carry.  Using Twitter is encouraged as a great way to stay transparent and authentic with customers.  Tony is their CEO, and he leads the way by tweeting about his travels, tours he gives of the Zappos.com headquarters, requests for feedback from customers, and contests he runs.  Customers even make suggestions via Twitter, the most recent of which was to list a short url on each product page that can be easily cut and pasted into blogs, email, Twitter, etc. so they can be shared with others (it is called zapp.me).  Tony has over 13,000 people following his Tweets to get this kind of information.

Customers Rock! take on Zappos.com and Twitter: Zappos customers are extremely loyal to the company for several reasons: great customer service, an easy return policy (free shipping on returns!), and employees that care.  Social Media at Zappos.com, including Twitter and their blogs, has been a great way to put a face on the company, make them feel approachable, get instant customer feedback, and create a two-way dialog that builds customer relationships.  Zappos is truly a Customers Rock! company.

Come back for Part 2b of this series to hear Comcast’s story!

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24 Responses

  1. Becky Carroll

    Thanks, Matt; very interesting post and experiment you did! Will be good to see how that looks in a few months. Thanks also for mentioning my blog in your comment section. :)

  2. @Matt – Thanks for mentioning SuggestionBox. As a company that is trying to drive awareness on why creating a dialogue with your customers is important, we appreciate when we’re noticed for doing it ourselves.

    @Becky – Another great post. We as you know have had the pleasure of working with the Zappos team over the past 4 months and their responsiveness through the social media channels is uncanny. Tony for a CEO is very accessible and is always willing to pass me to the person I need to speak to within minutes. From their brand marketers to customer service team, Zappos are true champions in the customer-centric space.

    One of the key things about social media is trying to get your message out there via all of these tools, but it’s another thing to go and measure that. It will be interesting to see what types of metrics develop over the next year as ROI becomes an ever increasing part of assessing the value in social media as a tactic in your overall marketing strategy.

    BJ

  3. Becky Carroll

    BJ, I love it when people support having an actual dialog with customers; thanks for keeping the faith! It will be interesting to watch the measures for social media in the coming months. I think a lot of it depends on what your goals are for using social media in the first place. Listening? Talking? Energizing fans? Each has a unique set of measures (and they aren’t all directly about revenue). Thanks!

    Mark, thanks for your comment. It is indeed frustrating when we get used to being able to contact great companies like Zappos or Comcast via social media, then we run across issues with non-social media companies. In those cases, I am not sure social media will help unless it is with the big dogs, like The Consumerist. I only say this because a company that doesn’t get it will belittle those coming in from the social media channel, in my opinion. Good luck to your friend!

  4. Karen

    Reality check

    Please help me understand why people are interested in following the tweets of others, especially for a person in a company you do not even know? Teenagers yes, adults….I have a hard time getting it.

    I understand why a company loves to have customers follow their every meaningless activity, but do these customers following the tweets of say Tony not have a life? This seems like the dream of marketeers, but why do consumers care? It is amazing how some are more than happy wasting their time rather than doing something of some value.

    Looking at the zappos suggestion box,I noticed that they only have 30 or so suggestions. This is considered successK

  5. Becky Carroll

    Thank you for your questions, Karen. Using Twitter is not for everyone, but for those companies that are using it, such as Zappos, it has provided a great way to put a human face on a company. People don’t buy from corporations; they buy from other people. Especially for an online business, making it more personal is essential.

    My best suggestion would be to try it yourself. Follow a few companies that you like (if they are on Twitter) and see if it is useful for you. If not, don’t spend time on it. If it is useful, then go for it!

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