In a 2016 article from Harvard Business Review, General Motors recounts how it began its consumer research department in 1933. Little did Alfred Sloan know that 88-years later, GM would be using the same techniques, except on a different platform called ‘social media’. Today, GM uses consumer interaction to learn “about ways to improve GM products, upholstery textures, colors, vehicle designs, and technology.”
As a result of Sloan and Buck Weaver, his head of research, GM’s relationships with its consumers led to “185 vehicle improvements, ranging from longer bumpers and rubber-padded pedals to air conditioning and the partial elimination of running boards.” And it continues today through social media relationships and real-time consumer listening.
But Does it Matter with Your Business?
Recent studies have shown that 28% of Americans want to seek out help with a representative through social media instead of visiting the location via social media than go to a physical location for help. But what about getting questions and concerns resolved? An impressive total of 59% believes that social media customer service makes it much easier.
GM gives us some pointers if you aren’t already implementing a dynamic social media customer relationship plan.
Integrate Your Social Media Team
Give your brand, reputation management, customer relationships, and finance their own social media responsibilities and get them together to brainstorm current customer issues and solutions.
Provide the Social Media Team Resources
Today’s sales happen long before a customer contacts a dealership. When a customer comes in contact with your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page, an impression is made. Every time they read an ignored post on Yelp, an impression is made. Whether you’re responding or you’re not listening, you’re actively backing up your brand promise. Without the resources to handle these daily customer inquiries, you’re at risk of losing future sales.
Active listening isn’t just hearing and sending a canned response. You also need to understand the customer’s intended meaning. For example, if a customer expresses a dislike about his or her service appointment, there could be many reasons. Getting that reason and communicating the need back to the department can help it be applied to future interactions.
What Are Some Ways to Succeed in Social Media?
- Respond Quickly. Right or wrong, consumers expect it. SproutSocial says, “40% of consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while 79% expect a response in the first 24 hours.”
- Reply to all feedback. Getting back in touch on the good and the bad is equally essential. BusySeed says, “Responding to reviews, both good and bad, shows customers that you read your page comments and care about what is said. This is crucial in social media management if you hope to retain or increase follower count, engagement boosts SEO, or customer interaction.”
- Personalize interactions. It’s always essential to use the customer’s name and yours too. That personal touch shows that you’re not a bot.
- Create specific templates or guidelines. Rather than wait to write something for a common problem, write some guidelines or a template to handle those. You know the trends of your dealership and it will be easier to quickly respond to customers’ needs when you have a response ready.
- Don’t wait for people to tag you. Listening for your dealership or product’s name on social media is a way to show you want to help. When a person hashtags you or mentions your name, you can immediately engage and let them know you want to help. Hootsuite and others provide tools to listen to your social media mentions.
Helping your customer through social media isn’t always about problem-solving. You can help them schedule service and have a car delivered or help increase consideration for additional vehicles they may need now or the months ahead. In the end, social media is just another way to enhance the customer’s experience with you further and show that your dealership cares.
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