Software-as-a-service companies are becoming increasingly prevalent. In their gaining popularity, they’ve fundamentally changed the sales process. As a result, customer service and satisfaction are on the rise for SaaS and beyond.
According to Salesforce.com’s 2015 State of Marketing report, marketers are shifting attention from traditional metrics such as conversion rates and return on investment to metrics that better reflect customer satisfaction. Social-media marketing and engagement are two of the most effective strategies for not only customer acquisition, but also customer success.
In today’s post, we’ll dive into the growing importance of social media for customer satisfaction based on Salesforce’s annual report and provide suggestions on how to utilize social media effectively.
SaaS companies have flipped the pricing model on its head
Traditional enterprise sales required a salesperson to sell a product to a customer only once—think Adobe software such as Photoshop. The customer would purchase a license once and then provide an annual service fee.
SaaS businesses, alternatively, structure their sales process on a subscription or renewal base—think Adobe Creative Cloud. Whether it’s monthly, quarterly or annually, recurring payments trigger users to question if they really need that specific software. With customers determining whether to pay for another subscription, businesses need to put customer service at the forefront of their marketing efforts.
Social media is beneficial for more than lead generation
Inbound methodology cites four different stages your marketing and sales teams must address to be successful: attract, convert, close and delight. And while many companies focus energy on attracting, converting and closing a customer, even more neglect to engage customers after the sale.
Social media is an effective solution to each stage of inbound, including delight. Consumers use social media for more than sharing photos and keeping in touch with family and friends. It’s also a platform for their voices to be heard. According to Nielson’s 2012 Social Media Report, nearly half of consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction or complain. Additionally, one third of social-media users prefer “social care” to using the phone.
Last year, a mere 29 percent of marketers cited social customer care as a very important goal. This year the majority of marketers will invest more marketing dollars (more than any other digital marketing channel) into social-media marketing, listening and engagement in an effort to elevate the customer experience.
Customers turn to social media for "insta-service"
According to Zendesk, consumers turn to social media to get a customer-service response. Specifically:
- 50% use it to get a response from a company to help with a service issue
- 48% use it to praise a company for a great service experience
- 47% use it to share information about the service experience they received with a broader audience
- 46% use it to vent frustration over a bad customer service experience
- 43% use it to ask other users questions about how to get better service
- 35% use it to get responses from others about great service establishments
- 33% use it to praise an individual for providing a great service experience
If you’re not investing adequate resources into social-media marketing and outreach, then you’re missing a unique experience to grow your business.
Nail social customer care
If you want customers to continue using your software, you need to give them a reason to do so. Groove, the company featured in our photo is awesome at this! We reached out to Len Markidan, head of marketing at Groove for his take on the importance of social customer care.
"The principles of good customer service don't really change in social; make it as easy and pleasant for your customers to do business with you as possible, and give them a reason to be so happy that they'll tell their friends about you. What changes most is speed. Compared to email, where most customer are happy to wait up to 24 hours for a response, 32 percent of social users expect a response within 30 minutes, and 42 percent expect a response within an hour. That expectation doesn't change by much on nights and weekends, either. So if you're going to invest in social customer service -- and the research suggests that you probably should -- understand that your customers expect you to be quick."
With that, here are five ways to incorporate social customer service into your marketing strategy.
1. Create unforgettable experiences by listening to your customers and any mentions of your company. If they complain, respond. If they have an issue, offer a solution. If they commend your work, send them some branded swag.
2. Be attentive and supportive in every situation. By being on social media and following your customers, you’re inviting them to a conversation. So when they mention you, don’t ignore them.
3. Follow through on your social-media presence. Often, companies who are finding little success or value in social media in terms of business growth will abandon whatever pages they created. As a rule of thumb, follow through, or you’ll just make yourself look bad.
4. Go the extra mile in maintaining a relationship with your customers. Whether they’re talking about your specific software or not, fit yourself into the conversation when appropriate. It’ll show you care less about their business and more about them as people.
5. Don’t be a coward, even if what your customer is saying about you is negative. In fact, 83 percent of customers who tweet complaints love it when companies respond, so why not.
How does you company use social media to delight customers? Let us know in a comment below!