Too often people get caught up in the idea of “social media magic”. Some snake oil salesman convinces them that social media will cure all their ills and turn straw in to gold and of course, it won’t.

As the din of over excitement in social begins to die down just a bit, we are hearing more rational and thoughtful voices speaking up offering more practical and thoughtful advice to companies regarding social marketing. One of those people is Olivier Blanchard who spoke at i-SCOOP’s 2011 Spring edition of the Fusion Marketing Experience.

Olivier is a pragmatist when it comes to social media and social marketing. He doesn’t talk dogma or theories when he speaks about it. He focuses directly on what social media can do for your business and what it can’t do. It’s no surprise that his first book is entitled “Social Media ROI” and preaches the message that you need a plan for social media which aligns it with your organization’s goals.

What about a practical example of what social can do for your bottom line? Olivier offered just that when he spoke at The Fusion Marketing Experience in Brussels. He demonstrated how customer service can leverage social media such as Twitter to actually reduce costs and hopefully enhance the customer experience.

How social media can help with your customer service and reduce costs:

  • One customer service or contact center agent can handle several customers at once (also think about social customer service)
  • Customers are not stuck on hold listening to bad music or repetitive recordings telling them why their call is so important
  • “Accents” are no longer an issue
  • Resolution times remain the same but to the customer, they seem considerably shorter
  • Customer service agents spend less time on each ticket
  • 140 characters keeps things simple
  • Transparency of process = positive PR
  • Added convenience for customers on the go
  • Proactive customer service can generate loyalty and capture market share. (Angry customers could be competitor’s customers)
  • Even a 10% shift to Twitter customer service could yield significant savings

There’s another factor to consider and that’s the reality of the multi-channel world we live in today. The more options you offer for customers and prospects to interact with you, the better! It’s simple, you want to give people the choice as to when, where and how they choose to access your services and resources. Choice is always a powerfully positive message.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of “Social ROI” as yet, I suggest you scoop one up. If you need a little more convincing then check out Brian Solis’ review of “Social Media ROI” here.