We’ve talked a lot recently about how the evolution of social media has impacted the field of sales, both the good and the bad. If used correctly, social media can be a big asset to any salesperson. The key, though, is social media cannot replace customer service. It can be and should be used to enhance it, but it should never replace face-to-face customer service. Here are some areas/scenarios where face-to-face is needed.
• Upset customers: In this day and age, you may learn that a customer is upset via social media but trying to resolve it that way is a bad idea. Think about it, does it work to try and resolve a personal disagreement over the computer? Of course there are exceptions, but the best way to resolve conflicts if face to face. Once a salesperson learns of an upset customer, then it’s time to talk to them. Let them tell you what the problem is, empathize with them (can’t do that through Twitter), tell them you understand their feeling and then do your best to solve their problem. This must be done in person! Trying to resolve a customer’s issue online is, most likely, only going to make the issue worse.
• Thank you notes: There’s nothing wrong with sending a thank you via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail for less expensive items. That’s a great way to maintain a relationship with your customers. However, for the bigger ticket items a written thank you note is still the way to go. If a man was generous enough to give you his business when buying an engagement ring, for example, then a written thank you note should follow. Written notes are more personal and show the customer that you are truly appreciative of their business.
• Maintaining relationships: Social media, as we’ve shown, can certainly be a tool in maintaining relationships with customers but face-to-face and follow up phone calls are still the best way to cultivate relationships. Take the time to get to know each customer and once you have established that relationship, then exchanging information via e-mail may be acceptable.
Social media can be an effective tool in providing exceptional customer service to your customers, but it can never replace the personal touch. Make sure you are still providing that personal touch to your customers.
Author, trainer, consultant, and speaker Brad Huisken is President of IAS Training. Huisken has authored several books and training manuals on sales and produces a Weekly Sales Training Meeting video series along with Aptitude Tests and Proficiency Exams for new hires, current sales staff and sales managers. In addition, he publishes a free weekly newsletter called “Sales Insight” For a free subscription or more information contact IAS Training at 800-248-7703 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at www.iastraining.com.