TeriCooper Teri Cooper’s passion for customer service pulled her into Internet Marketing & Social Media about 10 years ago. She is currently the Internet Marketing Manager at Golling’s Arena Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Dayton, Ohio. You can tweet her @bizfunctional.

If there was a business owner back in the late 1800s that heard about the telephone and said, “I don’t need that thing to run my business; I’ve done just fine without it all these years,” do you think they would have been in business very long?

Businesses are not “in business” for themselves. They are in business to serve their customers. It behooves business owners to consider the ways their customers WANT to communicate and put their customers first.

So how do your customers want to communicate? Are they on their mobile phones? Do they check email? Are they on Facebook or Twitter? These forms of communication with your customers are ways to “fill gaps.”

Having a mobile site is a way to help your potential customers interact with you. Our mobile site gets over 7,000 page views per week. Our mobile customers see the same vehicle summaries easily from their smart phone of tablet and can contact us right away by phone or email through our mobile site from just about anywhere.

Mobile1 Our mobile phone number is on our website for anyone who would rather text us their questions. When we added our business mobile phone to our site we started getting text messages right away. We also use this feature to send mobile summaries of our vehicles to enhance the customer experience and to set appointments.

20% of our prospects email us. Once we get the email we keep in touch by email until we are able to set an appointment. Many of our online customers don’t want to be contacted by phone and select email as their preferred method of contact.

This past winter we had a phone outage and did not know until one of our customers went to our Facebook page and told us they could not get through on the phone. We were able to communicate with the customer while we were solving the problem. We love to take photos of our new customers with their vehicles and put these photos on Facebook. Many of our customers share these photos with their friends who then like our page. We have experienced a 300% increase in our Facebook following over the past year!

When I made a change with my phone about a year ago, I lost a lot of my contacts, but I had “liked” a  company with which I did business,  so I was easily able to reach them and put in an order. I have never put their number back in my phone because it is easier to reach out to them on Facebook.

We have had several direct messages on Twitter asking about our hours. These customers could have gone to our website for this information, but it was easier for them to send us a direct message. It was good that I had my app open on my phone to quickly respond to these messages.

Social media creates a quick and timely means of communicating with customers without being overbearing. Adding interesting content and encouraging participation shows your followers you are not always trying to sell something.  Once you make this means of communication available, checking it regularly is necessary and will help you build relationships with your customers.

Listen to how your customers want to communicate, then make the effort to get there. Social media is today’s telephone!


Photo Credit: Teri Cooper