Following on from our interview (The customer service revolution is here and now – Interview with Mikkel Svane CEO of Zendesk) Mikkel agreed to write a guest post for the blog. Here it is:
Get Over Your Fear of Social Media
A lot of companies still find social media intimidating. They’ve heard the horror stories of businesses having their dirty laundry aired in public, so their plan of action is to avoid it all together. There are also those that recognise social media’s importance as a customer service channel but incorrectly assume that setting up the team and technology needed to support it will be too costly. Others, just quite simply aren’t waking up to the fact that their customers want to talk to them via social channels. Whatever their reasons, rather than fear social media companies need to embrace it and make sure it plays a strategic part in how they interact with their customers.
Social media has given customers a powerful, collective voice and often a disgruntled consumer will take to Facebook or Twitter to voice their issues – whether the company is present on those channels or not. The proliferation of smartphones also means people expect to be able to have their issues resolved almost instantaneously. If businesses don’t address this shift, they run the risk of leaving themselves defenceless to very public criticism. There was a time when a company told its customers how they could contact them. Now, it’s customers that are making those decisions.
The fact is we live in a world where more than half of the population is under the age of 30 and digitally literate. Companies that shy away from modernising their communication methods are simply not going to be as attractive to this new group of customers as those that do. Undoubtedly, ignoring this group of ‘tomorrow’s customers’ will impact a company’s bottom line in the long-term. Importantly, they will also miss out on the chance to celebrate positive feedback and converse with their fan-base. However, making sure social media is part of a company’s CRM strategy needn’t be a minefield.
The six key points to keep in mind to make sure you are making the most of this opportunity are:
About Mikkel (from bio on Zendesk’s website)
After an inspirational trip to San Francisco in 1995 Mikkel launched what was one of Denmark’s first horizontal community portals. Less than a year later the portal was acquired by a Danish newspaper and Mikkel founded Caput, a software company specializing in standard software components for community building and social networks. Serving as its CEO until 2002 he became General Manager for the German service management consulting group Materna. His tenure there reunited him with former friends and colleagues Morten and Alex with whom he founded Zendesk and launched it in October 2007. Mikkel holds a BSc(Econ) in Market Economics from Denmark, is a frequent Twitter user and loves spending time with his wife and kids when not working with his awesome team and Zendesk customers.
Thanks to rudylorejo for the image.