Aust & NZ
22nd Jul 2014

A recent article released by the Financial Times UK highlighted the fact that only 1/3 of companies discuss social media strategy at the board level. Stefan Haefliger, reader in strategic management and innovation at Cass Business School, described the proportion as “shocking”.

Why, ‘shocking’?

“There is a lot going on in social media outside companies that they can’t ignore, as consumers and stakeholders argue and discuss aspects of production and consumption,” he says.

And we couldn’t agree more. In this day & age, it’s simply too slack for companies not to be aware of what their customers and the outer industry are saying. Over the years the use of surveys, follow up calls, and emails have made it easy to receive customer feedback. But now, it’s even easier.

Social media is the most widely used means of consumer networking to date. If consumers are unhappy, with a 4 digit pass-code and an internet connection they can let the rest of the world know it - straight on the company’s page itself; or even worse, a competitor’s. Social media enables customer reviews, shared promotions, free marketing and even verbal sales – all with the touch of a finger.

Therefore, good or bad, the effects of social media can’t be ignored. Even when companies choose to overlook the power of social media, its influence still wields power over the bottom line. Referring back to the statistic, it does seem quite shocking to miss such an obvious opportunity - one that can directly affect sales, marketing, and customer retention.

So how can companies prosper more (and suffer less) from such unleashed communication? Harness it in their favour. Using social media to drive sales and rectify customer dissatisfaction is the fastest, cheapest and easiest way to keep customers happy.

Harness the power.

A proactive social media strategy can create new customers as well as attract existing customers more frequently, if used correctly. What ways have been proven most effective? Promoting discount specials, sharing new product releases, and prompting service reminders are great ways to stay top of mind and connect with consumers. By staying relevant and engaged with your customers, you will naturally be the first place of business they think of when needing a particular product/service again.

Simultaneously, use your strategy to squash any ill effects from unsatisfied customers straight away; using social media as a 24/7 platform for rectifying customer complaints. Have a disgruntled customer negatively discussing one of your services? Now you can see it first hand. And instead of ignoring the problem, a company has the opportunity to apologise, explain any misunderstandings and promptly offer to rectify the situation. Social media gives companies the ability to ultimately change customer experiences, in front of an audience of prospective customers.

Hold competitions, share surveys, post images, inform of updates, ask industry questions – the list is endless. Just start talking. We promise customers – and more importantly, future customers - will talk back. The sales and customer retention advantages offered through social media are endless – and Pentana Solutions makes it even easier to utilise.

We can help.

Priding ourselves as the modern, adaptable DMS alternative, we’ve made social integration a standard of our dealer management systems. DealerPRO and Sipad.X dealer management systems both offer the opportunity to access LinkedIn and Facebook straight from the DMS, enabling dealers to communicate effectively with the click of a button.

Still not convinced? One of Pentana Solutions’ customers, Autotorino – a multi-brand group selling more than 11,000 units per year – improved its customer retention by over 10% in only a few months by utilising the integrated social media tool within DealerPRO. This outstanding result has been recognised with the award of “Best Management Innovation Award” at the Automotive Dealer Day in Verona, 2013.

*FT/ICSA Boardroom Bellwether Survey

The facts are there, and it’s time for all board rooms to…get on board. Start here.