With the technological revolution in full swing, it is more than obvious that Social Media have become the preferred means of communication, making even emails seem out-of-date.
Social Media have evolved to become the main communication channel between businesses and customers. In their early days, they served as platforms for businesses to mainly promote their content and secondly to engage with their customers. Today, more and more businesses are laying the groundworks for “customer service building” by having conversations with customers who are either familiar with the brand or have just learned about the brand from an online ad. For instance, the Bank of Montreal recently introduced a new strategy to its mobile vault that enables customers to communicate with bank representatives via social media.
At Panadvert we saw a yearly rise of 180% in hotel-customer interaction in 2015 via social media, and especially via Facebook. Customers usually ask about rates and room prices, availability, services, facilities and features such as heated pools and restaurant menus.
Customers ask for information or seek out a hotel representative in the following ways:
- Posting on the company’s Facebook page
- Commenting on a company’s Facebook post
- Finding and calling a phone number
- Submitting a contact form
- Sending an email or message
Direct and transparent communication environment
One of the most attractive elements of social media is the immediacy. The moment a client sends a message or posts on a page, a notification is sent to take action.
It is important to stress that customers expect immediate reaction when communicating via Social Media.A� If a group response is not timely it will disappoint the client, while an informative and quick response is always positive.
This new form of communication allows the company to create a brand experience for the customer in a transparent environment, allowing the customer to publicly discuss their problem or question and the business to publicly display its culture and ethos, turning communication into an interactive dialogue.
According to Nielsen’s Social Media Report, nearly half of U.S. consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction, or to complain.
Virtual and temporary Social Community
A very interesting and revolutionary parallel element in the use of Social Media is that they can function as a community where customers communicate with each other. Quite often a A Facebook post can become a “chat room” where users exchange opinions, information and experiences about a company.
Social Media bridge the distance between different people. They are platforms for online users to find others who share the same interests and help them build virtual communities based on those shared interests. Social Media have different forms of temporary communication such as one to one, one to many, many to one or many to many.
Reputation Management Tool
Social Media can be used extensively to communicate with the general public regarding any crisis situation that might have gripped an organization.
The communication landscape has changed thanks to social media. The hospitality industry is very much affected by social review sites such as Tripadvisor that have the power to make or break a hotel’s financial standing.
We have cases where guests booked with a hotel solely based on reviews and the management’s responses to them.
Social media have proved to be an invaluable tool for businesses who want to grow and connect with their audiences. There is a real world out there for customers and businesses. Welcome to the real world.