All companies, either large or small, should focus on customers and draw up strategies that centre on them. It might seem obvious, but things don’t always work this way. On the contrary, Frank Eliason, who manages socials at Citibank and is considered the top US expert on customer care through social media, believes that most companies offer an unsuitable customer care. They actually only propose it when customers oblige them to do it, and they are only really interested in selling new services, rather than on meeting the needs pointed out by customers.
Moreover, information gathered from market studies, even costly ones, is mainly used for communication policies aimed at protecting brands or solving specific problems, not at improving customer service procedures.
In his new book @YourService, Eliason explains that customers perceive that no real changes take place if they submit motivated requests, and that their needs will be taken care of only if they strongly and broadly criticise the brand on the social media.
This way, the role of social media is enhanced, because for the first time the individual customer can personally affect the corporate image. But, on the other hand, also companies have a chance to radically change their customer service. Making changes that not only affect their marketing or image, but rather provide services that truly help customers.
One of the main features of socials is how quickly changes take place, while it takes much longer to modify corporate culture. For this reason, the worrying aspect, according to Eliason, is that few companies seem to have understood the new corporate framework created by social media, and this is why businesses spend so little in channels aimed at listening to customers’ need. In fact, social marketing has only made its first steps. But small steps are always needed to achieve results: changes can therefore be made, at least when corporate executives understand that it’s necessary to serve customers, instead of just using them.