Social Selling is not just for Sales: It’s Time for Social Customer Success

The world of Customer Success in B2B organizations is evolving quickly. One of the largest influences on customer success comes from the more established areas of the business: marketing and sales. I previously outlined how Customer Success can leverage marketing automation systems that marketing owns to provide a better customer experience. In this post, I’m going to focus on how customer success teams can leverage one of the new sales tactics being used: social selling.

ImageSales teams are going through a massive transition that is focused on how to use social media to build stronger relationships with their customers by providing the right type of information at the right time. These smart reps are also leveraging their social networks to build connections with prospects that are far outside their social circles to expose opportunities that may not have existed. You have new thought leaders like my former colleague Jill Rowley who are helping to create these new breed of sales reps and you also have new pieces of software coming to the market every day (the latest being Nudge) to spur on this social selling phenomenon. 

It’s Time for Customer Success to get Social

Taking the concept of social selling and applying it to customer success is a natural extension. First off, let’s get something straight – when I say social customer success I’m not talking about doing customer support via Twitter. Listening and responding to customer questions and issues via social networks should be a given today. Social customer success is different. It’s typically made up of Customer Success Managers who either own the customer relationship or play a central role.  To build stronger relationships with customers, customer success managers need to embrace social customer success.

I’m not just anybody writing about this either. I live and breathe this – maybe too much according to my wife. I’ve spent over 8 years building and growing a strong social presence and I’ve found it both inspiring and rewarding. I’ve been able to virtually celebrate great moments with my customers, laugh with themlearn from them, and spontaneously meet up with them as they happen to notice I was nearby. It’s helped me develop connections for life.

What is Social Customer Success?

Social Customer Success is using the power of social media to build stronger relationships with your customers for the purpose of developing customers for life and elevating your own career. Who wouldn’t want that? Here’s the thing – it’s very easy and takes maybe 10 minutes a day. It’s worth it – trust me.

While I’ll get into the actual tactics of social customer success in a future post, it essentially involves following, connecting and engaging with your customers across various social media channels on a regular basis. It requires you to create a social presence across multiple social networks where your customers live and to contribute with relevant content. Many of you are already doing this (kudos to you). It’s time for customer success teams to also take this on and reap the rewards.

 Don’t be afraid to get social – Customers love you!

Want to know the main difference between social selling and social customer success? Besides that it’s basically the same thing customers love customer success people – they don’t necessarily love sales people. That’s right – customers love you because you’ve most likely added value to them. They will want to connect with you so don’t be afraid to connect with them. I’ve chatted with a few people who were hesitant of putting themselves out there on Twitter and LinkedIn. Guess what? By having a poor social presence you send the opposite message and you give your competitors the opportunity to get a leg up on you. You can’t hide from social any longer.

Use Social Customer Success, Don’t Abuse it

I’ve tried to take social customer success to the next level by using it as a way to regularly communicate with customers. From my discussions with other customer success leaders, they’ve found that email is losing its effectiveness – customers are bombarded with emails and they can no longer keep up. The result is that they are missing key pieces of information such as product updates and best practices. Sending a customer a tweet or a message via LinkedIn is a good way of connecting when your messages may not be getting through. But… don’t abuse it. For example, it you were able to connect with a customer by sending them a direct tweet, go back to the regular communication channels or better yet, ask them how they would prefer to be communicated with. It’s a fine balance but I used it effectively to connect with a few customers that had ignored my emails and calls and it helped me get to bottom of some issues.

Social customer success is here and ready to be leveraged by the best customer success teams. Are you going to ride this train or be left at the station?

In my next post I will cover how to become a social customer success manager.

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