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Boosting Customer Service Through Social Media

With social media firmly established as the most popular web activity amongst mainstream users, consumers now make their purchasing decisions in a dramatically different way to how they did just a few years ago.

Consumers share, advise, review, complain and compliment brands regarding their customer experiences across the web and social media sites for all to see.

But what does online customer service proficiency entail?

Here’s my take on what I believe are the six best practices for preparing your organization to develop robust online customer service interactions through social media!

1. Monitor customer comments

Developing an excellent customer service approach depends on how well you monitor all online conversations about your brand. Choosing a social media monitoring platform that best suits your needs is essential.

2. Prepare to respond to customer comments

Once you understand where and when your customers mention your brand, you need to develop an appropriate response plan by defining what you’ll respond to and when you’ll respond.

3. Integrate and alert

Many companies lack the resources to have a large amount of dedicated staff logged into a social media monitoring tool awaiting mentions that require their attention. To address this, advanced social media monitoring tools offer email-alert systems to accompany their main user dashboards.

4. Analyze sentiment to streamline operations

Advanced social media monitoring tools enable you to automate the segmentation of social media comments and inquiries by sentiment

5. Manage the three most common complaint categories

How you respond to customers online depends greatly on your company’s culture and guidelines for external communications and customer support through other channels.

Specific complaints – that relate to a particular experience and usually give some detail and context. Such straight-forward complaints have a high probability of resolution, so they often take priority.

General complaints - expressions of general negativity towards a company can be tricky to manage. The ultimate goal, in this situation, should be responding and steering the conversation to a private session to minimize negative publicity.

Trolling/spamming mentions – exist to attract attention or disrupt conversations. Try to ignore those and have a real strategic or customer-centric reason for responding to content online.

6. Use online customer service as a revenue generator

Social media has become a key portal for customer service requests. People are turning to social media en masse, particularly to Twitter, to contact customer service teams with their queries.

Do pay attention to those requests as they usually offer lots of details for you to mine the opportunity to win over customers.

Additionally, the way you deal with leads on social can strongly impact your overall customer service reputation. Be quick, nice and helpful, and most importantly show you care. Going the extra mile will definitely pay off as people will start noticing your responsiveness, and this will impact customer retention and revenue.

A professional, efficient customer service team has the potential to turn complainers into loyal customers.


For the full read, click HERE!

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Being A Leader: What It Takes

It goes without saying that good leadership is crucial to any successful business. But, what makes a good leader and how can someone develop themselves into a good leader if they already lack leadership attributes?

The answer does not lie in one specific attribute or skill. You see, there are multiple factors which contribute to good leadership and whether someone is naturally a good leader or not, anyone can train themselves to become a valuable leader.

Get To Talking

One of those factors contributing to good leadership is communication. Communication is one of the most crucial elements of leadership. Good communication skills need to be learned to effectively become an efficient leader or manager. When communication occurs, as a leader, you will be able to accurately convey your ideas and thoughts to those who work for you. In fact, simply being able to convey these things in the first place, much less accurately, puts you in the right direction for leadership. If employees have no idea what is on your mind, your leadership is going to falter. Employees are not typically mind readers.

Get Something Moving

Motivation is another key variable that plays into good leadership. Employees tend to stagnate when motivation decreases and it will decrease, without proper motivation. Many leaders try to motivate the old-fashioned way through fear. (Do what I say or something bad will happen) This is not advisable, since it tends to only deliver short-term results and in most cases causes even less competent work due to resentment stemming from your fear tactics.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Teamwork is always something to consider when striving to become a good leader. This means not only teaching your employees to work together but to become part of the team yourself.

Use others potential. Many times, an employee’s potential is wasted. A good leader recognizes his or her employees are more than just employees, they are people too. These people have lives outside of work where they have to make decisions on a daily basis, from how to deal with house payments, to car bills, to raising children, to uncountable tasks in everyday lives. Yet, at work, their decision making skills are not trusted enough to choose what type of toner needs to be ordered for a set of printers.

Back to School

Take the time to learn as much about your position of being a leader as possible. Take advantage of leadership training material to help develop your professional skills. Do some reading at the nearest bookstore. Attend seminars, workshops, webinars and other professional development events. Watch online videos by top leadership experts on YouTube and other sites. Talk to other leaders and see how they do things; exchange ideas.

For the full article, click HERE!

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Hassle Free Social Media Practices

Social media occupies our everyday lives, providing opportunities and distractions in equal measures. How can our audiences use social media to save time and stay connected while reducing the time social media takes up?

Everything we create and post online should be social. In addition to the thousands of news and gossip articles published every day, we have even more content to engage with than ever, as there are several responses left by users and followers, which can be controversial and amusing.

Ordinary people and those who are more prominent don’t seem to hold back. For me, comments left on an article can provide as much, if not more, entertainment than the original article itself. 

If you think about it, it is the subjective nature of news content that sparks discussions either on the publication’s own Web site or off the back of their social media posts. This is where a user’s activity will be seen by followers — people who are more likely to respond to someone they are connected with and further engage in the discussion.

Newspaper and magazine editors are “content editors.” They ensure that everything they publish is easy to find, has embedded links, is shareable, and looks great across multiple platforms and devices.

This means that a wider skill set is needed for success, which has called for new talent within organizations, regardless of the size.

After all, with the print medium declining year after year, there is a need to safeguard businesses by reaching new audiences and having a strategy to get eyeballs on the content and, over time, increasing the number of followers and interactions with content.

You can probably gather from this post that, while social media can extend audience reach and interaction from personal and business points of view, it can be very time-consuming and tricky to stay front-of-mind and relevant. This is true whether you are running a national newspaper or a cafe in a little town across the country.

To make this easier, here are five hassle-free social media tips that will save you time:

  1. Use RSS feeds that connect to Twitter and Facebook so that each time you post on your blog or Web site, the content appears on your social networks straight away.
  2. Set up Facebook and Instagram links and statuses so they are automatically tweeted.
  3. Upload your Instagram photos to an album on Facebook so your fans and friends can see what you’re up to.
  4. Welcome new members and followers. This is especially good for small groups.
  5. Finally, ensure you activate all social networks by syncing them to different devices.

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

10 Ways To Eliminate E-mail Overload

E-mail driving you crazy? Every time you delete one, do five more show up? Are you finding it impossible to answer every e-mail you receive? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’re not alone!

Some people are even declaring e-mail bankruptcy — they dump every e-mail in their inbox and start over. If that’s not an option for you, then here are 10 tips to reduce e-mail overload.

1. Get a good spam filter. Even if it saves you just 10 minutes a day, that adds up to over 59 hours a year.

2. Cancel subscriptions to unwanted mailing lists, and opt-out of LEGITIMATE e-zines. But be careful! Trying to opt-out of spam e-mails will only alert the sender that they have a LIVE address. Also, make sure you are careful to check the “unsubscribe” or “opt-out” box when purchasing items online.

3. Ask your friends to remove you from joke groups or chain messages. Simply explain your situation and, if they are good friends, they’ll take you out of their message group.

4. Don’t post or publish your e-mail on web sites. Spammers will steal it and put it on their lists.

5. Don’t respond to every e-mail you receive. Yes, it’s okay NOT to respond to some e-mails. If it’s a group e-mail, don’t respond with “okay” or “:)” — it’s not necessary unless the sender is specifically asking you a question or requesting a response.

6. Be succinct. Restrict your messages to a few sentences. If you can’t, pick up the phone or talk in person. This will avoid the back-and-forth of e-mail conversation.

7. Take advantage of subject lines. If possible, put your question in the subject line, or your message. If that’s not possible, make your subject line very descriptive so the recipient knows what your message is about. Here’s another tip; create a set of codes with your coworkers and place them in the subject line to help them process and prioritize messages. For example, use “FYI” for informational messages. Use “AR” for action required and “URG”  1. for urgent messages.

8. Block time to answer your e-mail and fight the temptation to check your e-mail every few minutes. You will save yourself a lot of time and be far more productive.

9. Respond to messages when you open them so you only read them once. If the e-mail requires an action step, schedule the action step and delete it from your inbox.

10. Set time aside in the morning and the evening to process your inbox. Shoot for a completely empty inbox. File messages you need to keep and set reminders for messages that require you to follow up.


Now, here are some tips to keep from adding to the e-mail overload of others…

1. Be courteous when forwarding an e-mail: summarize the thread and why you are sending it at the top of the e-mail.

2. Don’t copy someone on a message unless it is necessary. And explain why you’re copying them. Recipients won’t need to guess your intentions. This means less back and forth messages.

Daniel A. FitzGerald
Owner & President
StormsEdge Technology

Are You An Innovator

The word "innovate" can be traced all the way back to 1440. It comes from the Middle French word "innovacyon," meaning "renewal" or "new way of doing things". Exactly what innovations actually happened in 1440 (rounder oxcart wheels?) is anybody's guess, but whatever they were, it's likely they improved the quality of life for more than a few people.

If you want to spark innovation, forget about slick formulas for a minute and pay attention to what's happening on the inside. Because that's where it starts. With the innovator - the inspired individual who sees a better way and goes for it.

To get started, all you need to do is rate yourself, on a scale of 1-10, for each on the following qualities. Notes which ones are your strengths and how can you build on them. Notes which ones are your weaknesses and how can you strengthen them.

Qualities An Innovator Most Likely Have:

  • Challenges the Status Quo
  • Curious
  • Self-Motivated
  • Visionary
  • Entertains the Fantastic
  • Takes Risks
  • Peripatetic
  • Playful/Humorous
  • Self-Accepting
  • Flexible/Adaptive
  • Makes New Connections
  • Reflective
  • Recognizes Patterns
  • Tolerates Ambiguity
  • Committed t
  • Learning
  • Balances Intuition and Analysis
  • Situationally Collaborative
  • Formally Articulate
  • Resilient
  • Persevering

 
Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

Preferred Communication For Customer Deals & Promotions

Consumers prefer to receive marketing messages, special offers, and coupons from brands via email more than any other communication channel, according to a recent report from Message Systems.

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in September 2014 from 500 adult Internet users in the United States.

Half of respondents say they do not want to receive any marketing communications at all from brands.

A quarter say they prefer to be contacted by email, the most popular communication channel by far.

Some 9% like text messages and 7% are fans of snail mail. Just 5% of respondents say social media is their preferred way of being contacted with marketing messages and offers.

Which form of communication do you prefer brands to contact you regarding special deals or promotions?


For non-emergency customer service issues, email again is the most liked channel, with 32% of respondents saying that is how they prefer to initiate interactions.

How do you prefer to initiate communication in a non-emergency customer service related issue?

Phone conversations are the next most popular channel for non-emergency customer service issues (29% prefer), followed by online chat (9%) and social media (7%)

Zachary T. Brown
Marketing Director
StormsEdge Technology

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