Community Futures Meridian

Box 2167, 125 - 1st Avenue East, Kindersley, SK - Phone: (306) 463-1850

Is Social Media Always Good for Customer Relationships?

  • February 2, 2017
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Have you ever sat in a restaurant, one of the fancy kinds where a steak costs $40 or more, and watched a good-looking young couple engrossed on their smartphones? What are they doing? Texting each other? Searching for the meaning of Gazpacho? Why aren’t they talking to each other for goodness sake?

Social media has influenced the way we communicate with each other personally, but even more so in business. In the name of efficiency, of greater reach, of massive exposure, we are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media platforms to reach the world with our message. We hope to act as a magnet, drawing people to our website, or our bricks and mortar business. Our customer relationships are increasingly being conducted online.

Contact with customers and clients is being shortened, it’s more succinct and on the surface. Only a few years ago we would have developed customer relationships over a long period of time, building trust along with a personal connection. Today we communicate online and often en masse rather than individually.

No one is saying that social media is not important as a means of promoting your company, driving prospects to your website or business, or making sales – it is and will be increasingly so in the coming years. But, it is still important to develop and maintain a deeper, more personal connection with your clients. It is this personal connection that builds trust. And trust builds loyalty. People have no loyalty when they buy online from a store where they don’t know, and have no contact with, a single individual.

As your competitors put all their eggs in the social media basket, it might be worth considering developing a plan to reach out, in a personal way, to your clients and customers. It’s a small world and our customers can come from anywhere, so it’s not always possible to arrange face-to-face meetings with them all, but where possible this intimate connection can be very rewarding.

Phone calls, Skype, personal emails, snail mail letters can also demonstrate to your clients they are more than an account number and the SKU’s of items they have ordered. Personal communication trumps a global Facebook message every time!

Here are six ways you might connect with your customers through the fog of social media.

1. Simply reach out to one or two clients a month and take them for a coffee or to lunch. Don’t make it about sales, make it about relationship-building. Talk about their needs and their company’s aspirations.

2. Make an appointment to meet them at their office, or place of work to review their business relationship with your company. Discuss how you can better serve their needs. Ask them what other products or services you might be able to provide them, or how you might adapt existing ones to better serve them.

3. If you don’t feel you have time to actually meet with customers one-on-one, or it’s not financially viable, then plan to call several of them each month by phone just to check in and see if they are happy with the service they are receiving.

4. For clients across the country, or overseas, arrange a Skype conference from time to time to reconnect with them and let them know about new products and services. Again, ask them about how they feel about your company and the service they are receiving.

5. Depending on your type of business, hold an open house and invite all your clients and customers. Provide refreshments and samples, or at least information about your company and what your vision is for the future, all the while focusing on how you will be able to service them better.

6. Network at events, conferences, and trade shows where you know your customers will be attending. Seek them out and make face-to-face contact. Let them know you care about their business and that you will be happy to meet with them at any time to discuss their needs.

Social media is a boon to your marketing efforts, but don’t forget to look for ways to create longer, more lasting relationships with your clients or customers. By making personal contact you will stand out from your competition and show that you are not taking your customers for granted. Creating a healthy mix of personal and online connection with your customers makes perfect sense, even in a world where two people sitting next to each other find they have more in common with their phone than their partner.

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