How Social Media is Changing Customer Service

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How Social Media is Changing Customer Service

Whether you are a systems integrator, parking manager, consultant, city manager or anyone else in the parking industry, your goal is to ensure that your customer is happy. A happy customer is a repeat customer.
And what inevitably makes your customers happy is when their customers are happy.
In our new digital age, customers love to share their experiences with others. Social media and word-of-mouth influence is one of the biggest trends in the last five years. 2014 statistics from social media software company Lithium state the following:
Word-of-mouth affects purchase behavior.
50% of purchase decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth.
Word-of-mouth has massive reach.
1,000 customers can generate 500,000 conversations about a brand.
Word-of-mouth builds audience trust.
92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising, and just 10% trust brands today.
Word-of-mouth influences people.
81% of consumers are influenced by their friends’ social media posts.
Word-of-mouth supports positive “reputation management.”
66% of brand mentions on social media are positive.
Word-of-mouth affects search engines. 25% of search results for the world’s 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content published via social media.
Word-of-mouth marketing works.
89% of consumers believe that customer testimonials are the most effective content, with 70% checking online customer reviews first when they consider a brand.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Yelp are here to stay, and can be a huge advantage to your business and your customers’ business.
For example, said Michael Civitelli, Managing Director of ParkHelp U.S.A., “Our customer, Desert Hills Premium Outlets mall [in Cabazon, CA], is on Yelp, and their customers rave about our parking guidance system,”
One customer-reviewer from Honolulu said: “I loved the parking garage the most. It had the coolest little … indicator to tell you the available spaces. No more searching for a space!” (She even added pictures.)
“It takes time and energy for a customer to write a review,” Civitelli said. “How often are you going to write a good review of a parking facility? ”
Having a positive influence such as this works on many levels.
However, he added, do ensure that the customers writing the rave reviews are just that – customers. In 2013, for example, 19 social media companies were sued and had to pay $315,000 in penalties for hiring people to write deceptive reviews.
If customer service is one of the primary concerns of your business, you may want to look into starting your own Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlet.
If you or your company decides to take this path, make sure you have someone who is dedicated to responding to your customer’s comments, complaints or accolades.
Being proactive and addressing possible issues enables your customer’s voice to be heard and shows that you care about them. Also, your company can create a buzz by offering coupons, discounts, updates and other information that will benefit your customers.
“We have the technology to push our level-count and open-spaces information directly to a website or mobile phone app,” Civitelli said. “Some of our customers love having this information to provide to their customers in real-time.”
More than two-thirds of Americans have smartphones, and based on the word-of-mouth stats above, it makes sense to keep your customers happy.
By providing the right technology and great customer service and keeping your customers informed, you will have happy customers, and once you have happy customers, they are going to tell friends.

Michael Harlow, a Regional Sales Manager of ParkHelp U.S.A., can be reached at mharlow@parkhelp.com or (760) 330-7572.

 

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Michael Harlow
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