MAD Perspectives Blog

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 Social Media facilitates customer retention

Peggy Dau - Monday, March 15, 2010

Last week I talked about how social media can facilitate the sales process.  Let's take that one step further and talk about how digital media can help you improve customer retention.  We touched on the topic of customer support as part of the sales process.  This topic is even more critical when it comes to customer loyalty.  A happy customer can become your best advocate

What is a happy customer?  Simply put it is customer who have not defected to a competitor.  It is customers who intend to purchase more goods and services from you.  It is a customer willing to recomment your company and its products to others.  It is a customer making incremental purchases or increasing their average order size.  It is a customer sustaining customer support or renewing their warranty.

business people by Business Planning Software.

What does customer support entail?

Customer support is more than enabling customers to contact you when they have a problem.  Customer support is getting ahead of the curve and proactively notifying customers when their are issues, product changes, special offers, in person events and more.  The goal once you have attained a new customer is to encourage them to buy more or for your cusomters to recommend you to their business colleagues and partners.

A few facts about B2B buyers:

- they depend of 3rd party feedback in purchase decisions
- they want to be part of the product or solution development process
- they trust colleague opinions particularly where those colleagues are using the target product or service

How does social media fit here?  Social media = an objective 3rd party opinion.  In addition, social media allows and enables real-time interaction.  It fosters an environment to inform while building trust and creditbility.  Whether it is a LinkedIn group around a specific category of product or the customer support forum on your company website, ad hoc interaction with your existing customers allows you to get honest feedback regarding customer satisfaction, IT needs, purchasing plans.  Companies can use social platforms to alert customers to supply chain issues, product releases, training sessions and more.  Being proactive is an element of the authenticity often mentioned around social media.

Your ability to LISTEN to your customers as they participate in online forums or to invite their feedback regarding product performance or features, enhances the relationship. Extend your conversation with your customer beyond the actual sale. Acknowledge, respond and champion their involvement.  It can turn customers into influencers of product roadmap and new purchasers.  Social platforms allow companies to have direct, immediate and interactive communication with many accounts.  Take advantage of these tools to sustain your customer base.

What's your perspective?