We have all heard that talking and most of all listening to our customers is important. But how do you manage that engagement using social media?
Hi Dimitri, welcome to our studio.
Hello, thank you.
Why is it that important to talk with your customers on social media?
Well, mainly because in the past years a rapid evolution, almost a revolution, has taken place. In terms of that as of today consumers are more than ever connected with brands, simply because there is mobile internet. In 2010 for example it was a unique thing in the streets to see people with their smartphone, if they already had one, while today that's the most normal thing in the world. So people are more connected with brands and with other consumers than ever. And a second thing is that the advent of social media has meant that for the first time in history consumers can discuss with brands. They can make conversation with brands more than ever.
Yeah directly, because before you only had the sales person in the shop you could talk to.
Exactly, because in the past the dialogue between the consumer and brands were two kinds. You had marketing, which I always describe as that what they did was a public monologue. They shouted to everybody who could hear it that they had the best product and that you had to buy it. You couldn't yell back at your radio or your television that it wasn't true. While on the other hand you have customer service within companies. What they did in the past was only a private dialogue. You call them, they answered, and all of that took place in private. So only the consumer himself or herself had a very bad negotiation position. But nowadays with social media, everything has become a public dialogue. If you buy a product of which they told you that it was going to be good and it's not good, you write a blog about it, you share it with all your followers on any source and everybody has heard it, so marketing can no longer do that public dialogue thing, it's a public dialogue. And the same is true for customer service. That's also a public dialogue, because if you talk to a brand on Twitter, everybody can follow along on what you're saying.
Yeah, that's true. But still if you look for example in the event industry... If you look at a lot of organisers, they are still shouting and broadcasting messages: "buy our tickets, buy our tickets!" And that's not real engagement.
No indeed, that is of course because all of this is new. Many companies that go into social media think that they are too late. In fact now is the big moment where all companies are all getting in. The ones who are already there, those are the ones who are already pioneering, and they did the hard work, in fact. Right now, everybody is getting in, and the simple reason is because as a company it is no longer possible to not have a Facebook page or to not have a Twitter account. You can do that, but the companies doing that are very rare. Or they have other channels of communication which seem to work splendidly for them.
But still then you need to make the switch of not broadcasting messages but going into interaction.
Exactly, and that goes of its own accord, because the moment they have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, they can start broadcasting but immediately people are responding to them. It's impossible to have a Twitter account and not answer anyone who's twittering directly at you. It's impossible to have a Facebook page and not answering complaints and questions any consumers place there, that's very strange. And that is exactly the revolution that took place these last years. The consumer for the first time has a channel in which he or she has the power. In the past it was always the company owning all communication channels.
But that opens a new problem, since if you're not a small company but a little bit bigger company or a large event, then you will start to get a lot of feedback coming in. Maybe you have multiple team members working on social media to handle all those requests, answering all those people, but then tooling becomes very important.
Absolutely, and that was exactly our vision in 2011 when we started with Engager, and so we wanted to make that exact tool to make it in fact as easy as email to respond to all those questions. Really big brands that work in a B2C environment, so directly the company to the consumer, they have high-volume accounts. And they need to be able to answer all of those things as easy as email. They need to know that something has already been answered. Or that they can forward it to somebody who is more aware of what the response to that question could be. And for events it's the same thing. They often have large peaks during a certain season in which they need to be able to communicate directly with their visitors and answer any questions. So things like: where can I find the toilets? It seems like a funny question...
But if you don't know where they are, it's quite urgent.
Exactly, and that's something that we see when during events these types of questions; really basic things that might not have been communicated because people didn't think about it, pop up everywhere.
But then logging in just on Twitter and following up isn't possible anymore?
No that's not possible, because if you have that high volume and you put a search in Twitter, then you just see the tweets pass. You cannot know whether anyone of your team has already answered it. You don't have quick background information. Have you already had a conversation with this person? What's the customer number of this person for instance? Those are all things you can put into Engager, so the next time that that customer reaches out to you, you immediately know who that person is.
And you see the history and so you can start a real conversation with somebody and not just messages going back and forth.
Absolutely, you have the context of the person and of any conversations in the past with that consumer.
Dimitri, thank you very much for coming over.
You're very welcome.
And you at home; thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.
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