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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Kill your customer service with social media

Most of my marketing experience has come from B2B (business to business) scenarios, but recently the distinction between B2B and B2C (business to customer) has become really blurred. Afterall, marketing is ultimately human to human and we're all customers.

Those who think of themselves at B2C have been quick to adopt social media, as a natural extension of their customer service. They get the chance to engage and showcase their brand. A great way to position themselves and demonstrate their companies personality. All well and good, until it bites them.

I was the customer on two occasions this week, with very different outcomes. Firstly I ordered some christmas cards from the little known but rather lovely They shipped as I ordered, but parcelforce failed to deliver. As the days went past, I emailed postcarden and their customer service couldn't have been better. They chased parcelforce on my behalf, proactively emailed me to tell me what was happening every step of the way and offered to send someone round to personally deliver my cards if the lost package couldn't be found. They tweeted what was happening too. I was very impressed.

Contast this, with big brand Waterstones. Inspired by Mary Portas to support the High Street, I went in store and bought 3 books. So far, so good. On return home I checked the site and discovered to my horror that had I purchased on line, the same books would have been £40 cheaper! I tweeted to Waterstones. No response. I took my complaint to their Facebook wall. This time I got a reply, which basically said, it was standard practice to charge more in store, as online they had to stay competitive!!!!

I wonder which brand I'll be telling all my friends about for all the right reasons, and which brand I will be boycotting in the future?!

In a world were perception is 99% reality, it doesn't matter how big brands are anymore, or whether they're B2B or B2C, your customers will judge you on how you treat them on or offline.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Organic rags to community riches

Every small business I work with started as a leap of faith.  For some, that leap is bigger than others and for my newest friends at Clear Sky Communities, it was the grand canyon.

CSC turn organic waste into biochar, which is a compost like product which makes your soil extra great for growing.  The profits made are then given back to the communities who provided the waste in the first place, to support local initiatives.  In CSCs words 'if the project helps the community, then this is the chance for the community to help that project'.  Sounds like a no brainer right?

So, while I always tell my clients that blogs are designed to inform rather than to pitch, this is a direct plug, for some lovely people saving the planet one community at a time. And even if you don't care about the environment, I know there are some gardeners out there .......

P.S.  You can also find them on twitter @1ClearSky and on facebook - tell your friends.
P.P.S. I promise not to make a habit of plugging my clients but 'tis the season of goodwill to all and that's the excuse I'm sticking with.