If you are serious about customer service in your business, you need to stay on top of what your customers are saying about your business. The business that stays in tune with its customers will always grow with their needs and wants.
Are you using Social Media for your business?
Whether you do or not, you still need to know if your customers are talking about you online. Online can be anywhere, from Twitter to Facebook to an online forum. Businesses that ignore Social Media often find that there are ongoing discussions and debates going on about their business, and they are not part of the conversation. If people are talking about you, good or bad, wouldn't you want to have the opportunity to thank them or to offer your side of the story if it was negative?
Below are three simple tools you can setup to monitor your business name online and to be notified when people are talking about you. They are all free and fully automated, it should only take you about 10-15 minutes to set all of them up. Once you receive an alert, you will have the opportunity to look like a customer service fanatic when you jump out of nowhere to thank your loyal customers or to offer a fast solution to another customers problem.
Google is chock full of free services for the small business owner. Google alerts is a powerful free tool where you can setup email notifications directly to your inbox if your business name (or other term you enter) is mentioned (and found by the Google bots) online. You can have it set to notify you with any mention anywhere, or just on certain platforms such as blogs or discussion forums.
The form to fill out is very simple and is self explanatory. The only thing you will need to know is to use quotation marks around the name of your business when you enter it in Google Alerts. Why? Using quotation marks tells Google to only give back results for the exact phrase, in the exact order you specified. If you just enter you business name without quotation marks, Google will return results for any page that has those keywords, regardless if they are in order or not. Example would be “the small business playbook” as opposed to just entering….the small business playbook.
There are a few options for setting customer alerts for Twitter, the one that i use is Tweet Beep. It's super easy to setup, just sign up for an account and add your Twitter handle. You can then monitor a keyword or phrase and can set the type of alert, whether a hashtag, mention or keyword search.
Twitter has its own search function, but as of this writing you cannot set up custom alerts.
Social Mention is just like Google Alerts except it monitors over 100 social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Digg. After entering a keyword or search term, you will receive some great analytics as you can see from the screenshot below.
Social Mention is a great addition to using Google Alerts and ensures that you are pretty much monitoring everything online when it comes to your business and brand.
Tips On Using Custom Notifications
- Set custom alerts for both your business name and your personal name. If you are a local business with close relations with your customers, sometimes they will mention you by name so be sure to cover both bases.
- Set alerts for key terms for you business. Set alerts for terms a potential customer might use if they were looking for a service like yours. An example would be if you were a realtor in Denver, you may set an alert for “looking for a house in Denver” so you can try and reach out to the person who wrote, Tweeted or posted the comment. You'll have to be creative here but there is lots of potential to grab business if done right.
- Set alerts for your competitors. Stay up to date with what's happening with your competitors. Did you're key competitor just royally screw up with one of its customers? Jump and and offer a solution! Did your competition just announce a new service offering? Stay up to date on what they are doing.
Start using custom alerts today, it's free
Setting up alerts for your business name, your personal name and key phrases on each of the above services will only take about 10-15 minutes tops. You cannot be everywhere at once, these tools will act like an army of website and social media monitors waiting to report any activity directly to you. All for free!
If you are not monitoring the conversations of your customers online, guess who might be? That's right, your competition. Take your customer service to another level and start joining the online conversation.
image courtesy of photostock
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