We offer some practical advice on how you can protect your customers from Social Poaching.
What is Social Poaching?
The term Social Poaching describes the act of a company tempting or stealing a customer from a competitor via social media.
Although it can occur within any social media channel, there is a strong disposition towards Twitter for big brands with multiple competitors. This is because a person can interact with multiple brands in one message. It is also possible to gain almost full visibility of your target audience when using proactive search tool sets.
Acts of Social Poaching are opportunistic and can target both happy and unhappy customers, from tempting customers with a better deal to agreeing with the “appalling experience” of a disgruntled customer.
How do I stop it from happening to my customers?
1. Know where your customers will be
Understand who you want to engage with and where they spend their time. This will vary from company to company depending on your demographic.
The word of the week when choosing your channel is “Narrowcasting”. If you know who you are trying to reach and why, the rest should follow.
2. Get the basics right to maintain real loyalty
Friendly banter on social media forms the bricks that build loyalty. This engagement can bring you much closer to understanding your customers’ wants and needs.
Regardless of whether it is fun and friendly or formal and serious, it’s much more about timing and letting them know you understand what, when and why they have particular needs.
Real loyalty comes from living up to our promises and creating an effortless customer journey. This goes a long way to getting the customers to think of you when those needs turn to purchasing power.
3. Empower your agents to create a great customer experience
All employees should be empowered to do their best for the person they are talking to, regardless of whether they are dealing with a customer service issue or having a friendly chat about the weather.
Engagement with non-customers should come second to that every time.
4. Align your marketing department with the contact centre
Align your marketing department with the contact centre.
Generally speaking, the brands that maintain this close relationship demonstrate stronger and more positive engagement with their customers.
If the left knows what the right is doing, they can work in unison to create a better service and brand image.
5. Give your social media channels the time and resources they need
As high-profile cases continue to prove, you can’t afford to neglect your social media channels.
If you don’t already, you should seriously consider monitoring your social media channels 24/7 – making sure your SLAs are targeting in minutes rather than hours.
Social listening software can also help you to tune into your customers’ wants and needs.
If you are struggling to get buy-in from the board, take steps to make social media more visible. You could even take a leaf out of MasterCard’s book… They have a 40ft screen in their headquarters displaying the Twitter feeds of their competitors!
6. Block your competitors from commenting on your Facebook page
Twitter and Facebook both offer features which allow you to block individuals from your page.
Facebook offers 2 options to restrict someone from your page:
- Remove someone from your page – They will no longer like it and won’t be able to see your page’s posts in their news feeds.
- Ban someone from your page – They will still like it but will no longer be able to post to your page, comment on posts or share content from your page to other places on Facebook.
Twitter also gives you the option to block individuals.
7. Train your agents on who your competitors are
Your social media team should be aware of who your core competitors are. This awareness can be developed through additional training or by placing informative posters up around the office.
They should also understand what to do should they spot a competitor commenting in your news feed – whether this is flagging it up with a supervisor or blocking them. Time really is of the essence here, so make sure your agents know exactly what is expected of them.
In a recent blog post, Luke Brynley-Jones said, “Social is certainly not a major channel by volume, but it heads the list as far as impact and reputation is concerned.”
Is it time your contact centre sat up and paid attention? Could you be doing more to protect yourself from Social Poaching?
With thanks to Social Media Team Leader, Samuel Jackson, and Luke Brynley-Jones