Ready to take social media to the next level? Looking for a way to jumpstart your social CRM program? Consider integrating support and knowledge communities into your social technology effort. Read the free white paper to find out how.
support forums: the core of social customer care Lithium social software helps the world’s most iconic brands to build brand nations—vibrant online communities of passionate social customers. Lithium helps top brands such as AT&T, Sephora, Univision, and PayPal build active online communities that turn customer passion into social media marketing ROI. For more information on how to create lasting competitive advantage with the social customer experience, visit lithium.com, or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and our own brand nation – the Lithosphere. request a demo we help companies unlock the passion of their customers. The Lithium Social Customer Suite allows brands to build vibrant customer communities that: reduce service costs with grow brand advocay with drive sales with innovate faster with social support social marketing social commerce social innovation lithium.com | © 2012 Lithium Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved 2 your community Ready to be a shouldn’ttake social media to the next level? Looking hostage for a way to jumpstart your social CRM program? Consider integrating support and knowledge communities into your social technology effort. The answer may surprise you, for two reasons. First, consider the path to advocacy, the process through which an ordinary Social media-based marketing programs, typically built customer is raised to super fan status. It doesn’t happen in around outreach and scheduled outbound communication, conventional marketing alone, because advocacy is driven not by are one element of the marketing effort in savvy a promise made, but by a promise kept. That means operations. organizations. Fishing where the fish are (Facebook just surpassed 1 billion members worldwide) makes a lot of Second, that promise-keeping technology isn’t found in sense, especially when highly targeted advertising based on your brand outposts: it’s found in the interaction between verified demographics that were only dreamt of 10 years ago customers that is facilitated by those outposts. is within the reach of any marketing professional. What’s this mean in plain terms? It means that a well-built But beyond outreach, what do you do? How do get the fish support forum can be a powerful marketing tool. Expand into the boat? the definition of “marketing” to include all forms of brand- building communication: outreach, advertising, and pre-sales experiences are clearly part of this. But so are post-sales experiences (which typically outnumber pre-sales over the customer lifetime) like service requests, resale/renewals, and requests for referrals or recommendations. 1 These are all driven by the same thing: customers sufficiently The challenge of meeting customers’ increasingly delighted by past experiences that they are willing to seek sophisticated service needs arises as customer acceptance help when the inevitable issues arise, to re-up for another of forums grows: the unwary brand can find itself quickly year, or to offer via their social graph their positive comments disintermediated by failing to capture customer knowledge in for others to consider. a branded support environment. At the center of the support process—driven by the social Moreover, empowered customers are significantly more web, customer empowerment, and the diverse experiences of likely to talk in highly connected social channels about customers—is the support forum. Unlike a telephone-based their experiences with your brand, product, or service. That process, the support forum is a ready-when-you-are, 24/7 means you need to be prepared to participate—at scale—and source of information. to ensure that your customers see you or your brand as responsible for their satisfaction. To be sure, there are some issues—getting a seat on a plane or securing a return authorization—that require an agent. If you want an interesting insight into the development of Successful firms have invested billions of dollars in creating early, innovative customer care platforms, check out Chapter great agent-based service experiences. At the same time, 15, “Beyond the Status Quo” in Howard Schultz’ “Onward.” customers not only want to answer questions themselves but Today, most brands are in effect playing catch-up: they’re all to also cover more situations and get the information they need over the social web with marketing programs but are just at a lower cost. That’s good for your business on all counts. now connecting the dots with operations and customer care. And they are discovering it’s really hard work. Integrating a support forum into a marketing program is — let’s be honest — easier said than done. Traditional advertising combined with “800”-based service agents means that customers hear your message—and only your message—across all touch points. That makes consistency easier but also gives your customers the least flexibility when seeking information. 2 Decoded, that means they turn to the web and compare That community will provide more than answers, too: it will you with what is available via search. That’s hard enough to drive innovation, it will provide defense in times of crisis, and compete with, and even harder to win against. Yet, building it will give you a platform on which to test new ideas. Built “social” into your care program is fast becoming the new front around the needs of your customers, support forums can be in the push for business success. the ultimate anchor point for your social marketing program. Opening up the brand and participating on the social web As you scale up and build your social web presence, be sure addresses the challenges of traditional approaches to to consider the role that a support forum can play: helping business: by being present and participating on the social customers help themselves to a better experience, with your web you “become part of the action” and customers become products and services, in a context where sharing comes less likely to “seek the truth” on the social web and instead naturally, can be just the ticket to winning on the social web. come to you with questions. Sure, smart consumers still actively research using search, but to the extent they see you as an ally they are checking options rather than looking for an alternative. Every edge helps in modern marketing, and being perceived, as a partner is a big edge. Extending your social marketing into support by integrating a support forum is a logical step. By giving customers a place where they can interact and share questions and answers with other customers you’re inviting customers to bind themselves not just with your brand but with the community that you helped to build around your brand. 3
Pages to are hidden for
"Support Forums The Core of Social Customer Care"Please download to view full document