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Author: Luke Brynley-Jones

Luke Brynley-Jones

Luke Brynley-Jones is one of the UK's most experienced social media consultants. In the past 12 years he has helped brands such as Accenture, YMCA and Orange to develop effective social media strategies.

He has trained over 4,000 marketing and PR professionals in social media marketing, monitoring and engagement. He writes the popular social media marketing blogoursocialtimes.com and hosts social media conferences in the UK, US and across Europe.

Social Customer Service Best Practice

15 essential best practice tips for social customer service

Over the past 18 months I’ve hosted over 30 events on social customer service, featuring brands such as eBay, Citibank and British Gas.

While it’s popular to examine the public failures of brands on social media, best practices are also emerging. 

Here are 15 of the most useful best practice tips I’ve learned from some of the world’s leading brands.

Glam it up a gear

What’s the point of relationship marketing?

What have Ford Retail, Maersk and Boden all got in common? (Clue: it's got nothing to do with cars, shipping or clothes).

You might have seen that Ford Retail UK has just launched a range of nail varnishes based on the colours of their latest Ford Fiesta.

The colours themselves, which include Hot Magenta and Candy Blue, might not be to your taste, but if you work in social media, you’re probably already wondering why you didn't think of the idea first.

On the other hand, if you don’t work in social media, chances are you’re screwing up your eyes and mumbling: “why in heavenly tarnations would Ford Retail do such a thing?” And that’s before you’ve even seen the colours.

I imagine quite a few of Ford Retail's senior executives have also questioned exactly how green nail-varnish is supposed to convince people to buy a new car.

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Social media engagement is a tactic, not a strategy

While most brands are focused on increasing social media engagement, the smart ones are looking beyond Likes, towards building genuine, long-term relationships with their customers.

I was joined in a webinar last week by Eugenie Gijsberts from Dutch bank, ABN AMRO.  

it's one of Holland’s largest financial institutions and Eugenie, sounding remarkably genial for someone at the sharp end of corporate communications, is responsible for managing the company's social customer services.


Social customer service: the challenge for brands in 2013

In recent years social customer service has endured crises and successes in equal measure. Here’s a quick evaluation of where we are today, with some pointers for the future.

For an increasing number of people, social media is the first place they turn when they experience a problem.

Fewer than 50% of companies are actively responding to these enquiries and many of those are using cost-cutting copy and paste tactics, which is exactly what call centres were criticised for.

We need to invest in finding ways of supporting customers more effectively on the channel of their choice and ensuring a consistent customer service experience across all service channels. 


Social media quality: the forgotten metric?

Businesses have always struggled to measure quality. The challenge in social media is no better. In fact, it’s considerably worse. 

Even the best attempts at measuring quality of a customer relationship, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), rely on numbers, in the case of NPS a ranking from one to 10, and this has always seemed somehow inadequate to convey the different values and feelings involved. 

Google has done a reasonable job of measuring the quality of content published online and ranking it accordingly, yet if you search for “social media quality” you’ll be presented with a list of deeply mediocre, SEO-focused blog posts on the topic.

Perhaps Google’s Authorship will fix this, but the challenge is clear.

So what does quality mean in the context of social media?


Social media and sports: winners and losers [infographic]

Sport and social media are obvious partners. Sport provides ‘live’ excitement and social media lets you share the moment with your friends.

It’s a social marriage made in sporting Heaven. 

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75% of businesses to use social collaboration tools in 2013 [infographic]

The rising tide of online collaboration is highlighted by a new infographic. But why are businesses finally turning to online collaboration tools? 

Most businesses know that online social collaboration tools can form part of the solution to inefficient working practices, but they’ve been around for ages and, for various hotly discussed reasons, never seem to have caught on.

Until, now, it seems

Corporate Facebook Page

Are social media engagement strategies condescending and crass?

In the rush for more Likes, Comments and Shares on Facebook, it's tempting to dumb down.

But could underestimating your fans backfire, or even damage your brand?


How has the Queen used technology over the last 60 years?

Not content with merely heading up the Commonwealth, The Queen apparently maintains active accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Flickr.

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Traditional vs Social CRM

Traditional CRM vs social CRM (Infographic)

Over the past two years Our Social Times has hosted social CRM conferences in London, New York and Paris.

It's a fast-growing industry with many specialist themes, but the first question the speakers always get asked is: "How does social CRM differ from traditional CRM?" 


10 reasons why customer service has failed to wake up to social media

When you read that just 11% of retailers respond to negative comments on Facebook, while 81% of businesses use social media for marketing, it’s clear that something has gone drastically wrong in the world of social customer services.

But what, exactly?

After reading the shocking statistics in Vikki Chowney's social customer service post on Econsultancy a few weeks ago, I asked several of Our Social Times' largest clients why their customer services teams hadn’t fully adopted social media yet.

Here’s what they said, with added notes and suggestions.

Who Owns Social Media?

Which department should own social media?

According to recent figures from Zendesk around 60% of companies are using social media for both marketing and customer services.

But who should take the lead?  

We ask the experts for their views.