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Unlocking the Potential for Sales in Hospitality Through Social Customer Service

By Ken Fitzgerald on Oct 30, 2013 10:53:00 AM

Whilst having a social presence will undoubtedly bring customer service issues to your channels, it also has the potential to drive sales opportunities.   However, these may be going unnoticed by brands due to not having the right social customer service strategy in place.

Unlocking the Potential for Sales in Hospitality Through Social Customer Service

study released by Barclays earlier this year focusing on hospitality and leisure brands on social media found that nearly a third (29%) of respondents directly attribute up to 25% of all their sales to social media.  A further 13% state that these platforms generate up to half of sales. While this may seem like a large percentage, it’s certainly not surprising.

Due to the increase in smartphone usage, customers are now engaging with hospitality and leisure brands about their experiences in real-time, often while still on site. These experiences may be both negative and positive, but it opens the doors for customers to ask for extra services or products –making it imperative that brands are there when needed.

While this may seem daunting, with a few strategies and structures in place it can be easy to ensure that not only are you satisfying your customers needs, but also harnessing the potential to gain sales through social.
Have you considered these whilst setting up your social customer service offering?

Set up a dedicated social customer service team

Embracing issues and having a team dedicated to social customer service is the first link to harnessing any potential sales opportunities. Responding to your customers in a timely fashion lets them know that you are there to answer any question they have. After all, if they know where to reach you for grievances, they know where to reach you with sales queries.

Be proactive

Listening out for mentions and engaging with customers is paramount. While they might not be directly asking you a question, it can still be easily turned into a potential sale as the example below from Four Seasons demonstrates.

Don’t Wait For Opportunities, Drive Them Your Way

Doing something ‘off kilter’ that the customer doesn’t expect is always sure to get them talking. When Benjamin Ellis realised he could make a reservation via Twitter to UK restaurant Landings, he was so impressed he felt obliged to blog about his experience

Customers will meet you where you are so collaboration and communication between your social team and venue will ensure a smooth service.

Getting a dedicated social customer service team is the real key to connecting the dots between social and sales. Pulling together the right people for this team and engaging with your customers in real-time is fundamental to making sure you that you pick up not only any issues customers may be having but any potential sales opportunities as well.

For more information, check out our blog post on building an all-star customer service workforce to get this up and running and start unlocking this potential.
What are your thoughts on selling through social? We’d love to hear any tips on what’s worked for your brand or any other questions you may have.

Topics: Customer Service

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