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Buzz Less, Engage More: 5 Social Media Lessons from Zappos

“My mom has zero buzz but when she says something, I listen,” says Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh in his book Delivering Happiness.  Why do you listen? Because, in the parlance of social media marketing, your Mom has spent a lifetime building engagement and trust with you.  This has built her brand as someone who has your best interests at heart.

Like Moms, companies can build trusted relationships with their customers over a lifetime of experiences, including those that happen via social media.  Hsieh believes marketers should focus their social media efforts less on buzz and more on building engagement and trust.  Zappos does this by focusing all of its marketing on creating a great customer experience and building its brand through the positive word of mouth advertising its customers generate because of that experience.

Zappos’ focus on excellent customer service provides some great guidelines for instilling an attitude of customer centricity and engagement via social media.  Here are some examples from the company’s Top Ten Ways to Instill Customer Service into Your Company with notes about how to apply them to social media.

  1. Make customer service a priority for the whole company, not just a department.  A customer service attitude needs to come from the top.
    Likewise social media shouldn’t just be a customer service or marketing effort.  It should be a part of how the company as a whole connects with customers.  And, it should be customer, not company-centric.
  2. Don’t hide your 1-800 number.  It’s a message not just to your customers but to your employees as well.
    Companies often hide their social efforts in places where their customers don’t see them.  They build a Facebook page because they think they are supposed to without understanding that their customers are more likely to be on LinkedIn.  Be where your customers are and make it easy for them to interact with you on their terms.
  3. View each call as an investment in building a customer service brand, not as an expense you are seeking to minimize.
    Trust that your customers are interacting with you on social media because they care. View each interaction (a review, a customer support request, a coupon response, etc.) as an opportunity to strengthen the relationship to the point where the customer will continue to engage, buy and will others to your company.
  4. Have the entire company celebrate great service.  Tell stories of wow experiences to everyone in the company.
    Again, social media isn’t just for one department.  Share efforts, wins and losses throughout the company so that everyone understands how social media brings the customer closer to the company.
  5. Give great service to everyone: customers, employees, and vendors.
    Building a culture of customer service means the service isn’t just for the end consumer of the company’s products but for the consumer of each person’s work all along the way throughout the entire chain from idea through execution, sales and post-sales support.  Social businesses can enable great customer service at each point by efficiently connecting people and information in a way that creates a positive experience.

How many of these can you apply to your company?  How would using social in these ways change your company’s relationship with its customers?

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