Why we should focus more on customer service than advertising via social media in long-term.

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Howard County Library System@Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When it comes to the digital retail age, meeting the demands of modern online shoppers not only urges the multi-channel marketing development, but stimulates retailers to squarely face the considerable needs of resolving customer’s questions in real-time, which is why there is a great advantage in establishing sound customer service— especially on social media.

Instead of regarding customer value as limited to making decisions of consumption and purchase behaviour, the presence of social media lets consumers dedicate themselves to company growth in multiple ways and provides firms the opportunity to engage with customers and even turn them into become advocates of the products( C. Malthouse, Haenlein, Skiera, Wege and Zhang, 2013). This shows that the emphasis of social media marketing strategy should be more focus on customer relationships, rather than average advertisements in the long term.

Don’t let Ad figures conceal the real people behind it

Social media is the main character in the digital retail age, many companies concentrate on the advantages of advertising and are eager to boost post reaches, shares and likes, in order to attract people to their web and ‘more likely’ to make purchases. Powerful content is certainly essential to social media, but must advertising be the smartest and most efficient way to engage with audiences?

Let us look at one of the trendiest social media platforms for business—Facebook. Putting aside the truth that Facebook’s total reach has decreased consistently to an average 10.71% by 06/2016 (Last data from DMR, 2016), the continuous advertising can lead to ‘hide post’ actions from customers, and ‘Likes’ on posts may not contribute to transactions with wrongly targeted audiences, either.

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Credit to: Janitors@Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Compared to advertising, customer service on social media platforms is a guaranty to make consumers pay the visits actively with their questions about products, campaigns, etc. Customer consulting is vital for integrated shopping experiences that makes customers feel reliable and even relatable with the brand. Therefore, the importance of customer service should not be underestimated when compared to external advertising on social media. Social media is exactly the ideal place to present the affinity for a brand with people leaving positive feedbacks.

Reconsider the benefits in invisible customer value

Since customer has become a primary source of value, consumer experiences partly decides whether orders will be completed or not, and will old customers return to conduct the next purchase.

Customer service is where the brands can grab the opportunity to reach their potential clients directly and impress them with amiable and professional, efficient attitude. The more customers trust and like a brand, the more likely it is deals will be achieved. Although it is an invisible index of customer retention, customer satisfaction and trust could be more practical to be considered as a reference than ‘Likes’ and ‘shares’ on the social media posts.

On the other hand, the fine public praise of customer service may be one of the most powerful marketing strategies and advertising for a brand. Here we can use the UK degitaly-led retailer Argos Ltd as a good example.

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hnnbz@Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

How Argos transfers great service to a favorable marketing strategy

The leading digital retail brand Argos was the first multichannel retail in the UK that reached £1bn revenue in a year in 2015. The revenue figure includes mobile transactions, click-and-collect and home delivery (Matthew Chapman,2015), which illustrates its superior integration of online and offline channels.

As a major player in digital retailer, Argos is also fully utilizing its strength in the social medias. On the Facebook fan page, Argos maintains a low posting frequency that generally posts once or twice a day—or even less. Note that despite the low posting rates, the post formats are mainly videos, which is more likely to receive higher exposure in the Facebook news feed (Marcus Krieg, 2016).

In addition to using video posts, the high response rate is obvious on the posts as well, which aims to resolve and answer consumer complaints and questions effectively. Argos has  displayed ‘Typically replies instantly in private message’ on its fan page as well.

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Argos Facebook page

Argos’s consistent genuine attitude towards customers has also been shown in another vital social media—twitter. Argos set up a dedicated customer service channel called @ArgosHelpers, which specifies in dealing with customer problems with an average 76% response rate and generally replies in 55 minutes (Dean Johnston, 2016).

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Argos Helpers twitter

The positive feedbacks on @ArgosHelpers from customers are non-negligible. These twitter users actively leave comments about how they gained wonderful buying experiences from Argos and tag Argos on their tweets. If people see their friends giving positive feedbacks to Argos, there is a strong possibility they will consider online shopping at Argos next time. To make the most of word-of-mouth marketing, developing good customer service on social media is a necessary move.

Customer service contributes to customer retention, brand image and useful marketing resources

Does customer service count as a marketing strategy? Given that customer experience is crucial in the digital retail age, customer service could be a valuable means of marketing that even more powerful than product advertising. Not only will customer service helps business with retaining consumers, but also delivering positive brand image with trust to their potential clients.

Moreover, companies can implement re-marketing strategy on people who had been consulted about similar merchandises, which could be a more accurate way of finding the  right customers than targeting audience on social media advertisements. As a result, how to transfer customer feedback and satisfaction to visible and substantial resources of marketing is an essential focal point for the business today.

 

References:

 Edward C.M., Michael H., Bernd S., Egbert W., Michael Z. “Managing Customer Relationships in the Social Media Era: Introducing the Social CRM House.” 2013.

DGM. ”90 Amazing Facebook Page Stastistics.” 2017.

Matthew Chapman. ”Argos becomes first UK multichannel retailer to hit £1bn in m-commerce sales.” Retail week. 23 July 2015.

 Marcus Krieg. ”How To Increase Your Facebook Audience Reach Using Video.” Wire buzz. 2016

Dean Johnston. ”How Argos’s use of Social Media is developing their brand?” DP Online Marketing. 1 November 2016.

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10 thoughts on “Why we should focus more on customer service than advertising via social media in long-term.

  1. Doing customer service on social media platforms is definitely the trend and it benefits both customers and companies. Customers can solve their problems by just leaving a message online and get feedback immediately. Companies can also immediately understand consumers problems and needs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Alice, I appreciate your comment.
      Customer Service is vital for companies to retain long-term relationship with customers, replying in real-time is also an action to win customers’ trust 🙂

      Like

  2. I would say that customer service is surely one of the most important things for a business to consistently taking care of and it seems that social media is a must for business to build the trustworthy relationship with consumers. Social media platforms allow business to interact with consumers quickly and efficiently. Nowadays, more business starts to put the focus on CRM and I think it would be great for CRM to involve more or even come up with a campaign on social media to enhance the relationship with consumers too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Jasmine, thanks for sharing valuable ideas. I think social media communication should be both effective and efficient to meet online shoppers’ need this day. I am looking forward to the further development of customer service on social media.

      Like

  3. I supposed that you brought up an very fab idea, is customer service as a marketing strategy, here, I agree so. Further, if consumers experience those good after-sales service, it’s more likely to strengthen brand loyalty to this brand. Moreover, the frequency of a brand posting ads or any promotion is also crucial, because if the frequency is too high then it will turn out to be the opposite result which is losing costumers, or even worse, they may ruin their brand image. In all, I like this argument!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment!
      I think the best frequency of posting is also decided by the contents, take the example of Argos, too many posts about products could be disturbing.

      Like

  4. Really interesting article! Personally I would be more likely to use a company with positive reviews and good response rates. I may like posts from companies if that post is interesting but it wouldn’t make me more likely to use the company, whereas good customer service definitely would!

    Like

    1. Hello Toby, I appreciate your comment very much.
      From my own experience, if the customer service acts impolite or indifferent when I ask them about products/services, I might not choose to make a deal with them. I suppose good customer service could be a unique point to make the business stand out, since customers often can find the same products in other companies.

      Like

  5. It’s a good argument, however, I still think advertisement is more crucial. The first opportunity for majority of people to know your brand is through adverts. Once you fail to promote your products at the first time (trough advertisement), customers are not likely to contact you more even if you got fantastic products and customer’s service systems. Because they are not triggered and motivated.

    Like

    1. Hello Yichao, Thank you for the the comment!
      I agree that advertisement should play its role well to market products, so people would take further action to purchase/ask the information about the product. On the other hand, it’s likely that business will have to pay higher advertising fee for new customer acquisition on social media, and this makes customer relationship management become very critical in long-term.

      Like

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