Transparency and Customer Service

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I recently opened up a twitter account to catch up on my interests.  As a Supply Chain Management Graduate Student, I’ve learned just how valuable being transparent is in the digital age.  With the current advancements in technology and the surge of social media it is imperative that a business, regardless of the industry, be as transparent as possible.  Companies before social media could make a mistake and it could take weeks or months for it to leak to the media.  Once a company makes a misstep today, it is practically known the minute it happens.  Twitter plays a massive role in how the news is delivered.  Almost every major company interacts on social media, but the level of how they respond varies.

How often do the people you follow reply back to you?

Depending on the companies size the amount of responses can be overwhelming, most companies will choose to respond with an umbrella statement with the intent of being as general as possible.  The best companies have social media managers who, alongside their staff, will answer as many questions as possible with the intent of building trust with their customers.

If you happen to open a blog, a website, or a business, the best way to continue to gain trust is to respond.  Good customer service can yield favorable results. You don’t however, have to respond to the toxic customers.  But it can be really fun when you do.  See Wendy’s twitter as an example of savvy social media.  It’s all in good fun and it helps other customer’s know that you won’t take unwarranted criticism.

Trust is a foundation that the “mega” companies have built their empires on.  Amazon, who has slowly taken over the world, has such transparency that customers are able to see when products are available, their inventory levels, and if need be, when a product will come available.  What is so intriguing is that this all done via their website.  If a customer wants to make a return, Amazon will send you instructions to help along the process and will update you along the way.  This is high-level stuff, they are easily one of the most global companies yet their customer service still operates at a personal level.

Not every business is going to explode in the way Amazon has.  But having a consistent message and following through is a key to success.  Social media is a tool, it allows companies to reach an audience that wasn’t possible 20 to 30 years ago.  Every business with a website, regardless of geographical location can be considered a global business.  You may not pique the interest of the local populace, but there may be someone around in the world who likes what you’re selling.  Remaining transparent will build trust and in turn people can easily retweet or forward your message to their friends or followers.

Marketing in the digital age doesn’t have to be boring.  Be creative, embrace your followers, and most of all be transparent.

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