Today's generation of consumers has an unprecedented level of power. Sharing information is easier than ever, and news - good or bad - spreads fast. When someone is happy, they spread their joy to the 130+ Facebook friends. When someone is angry, they rant on Twitter using a hashtag that may be watched by thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of other people.

This means that would-be buyers have access to a huge amount of information about every product that they're interested in. Before walking in to a restaurant, consumers can check the reviews and tips on Foursquare. Before hiring a consultant, they can look at the number of recommendations the person has on LinkedIn. There's even an application for mobile phones that lets people rate public restrooms!

Social Media Consumer Services

Social Media as the Future of Consumer Services?

As a business owner, it's more important than ever to make sure that you're in-touch when it comes to social media. Whether you sell a product, a service, or a combination of both, it's important that you're reachable, and that you're also reaching out to your customers.

A few years ago, if you had a good understanding of VoIP for business, then you were ahead of the crowd. Today, VoIP is something that even the least tech savvy consumer makes use of - sometimes without even realising that they aren't hooked up to the normal telephone system. Today, if you want to stay ahead, you need to keep an eye on as many channels as possible.

You Can't Please Everyone

It's impossible to please everyone, and if you try to do so, you'll end up diluting your product to the extent that it becomes completely useless. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to keep people happy, however. It just means that you should make sure that the people you work hardest to please are the people who are currently paying customers.

Don't waste time and resources reading and responding to every single person that posts about your product on a forum. Instead, focus your efforts. Make sure you're easy to reach - you've shelled out for a good VOIP for business package, so make use of that VOIP service by offering a contact form with a call-back feature. Offer live web chat support, and have someone keep an eye on Twitter for you. Doing customer support by Twitter is a good way to drive your support staff insane, but using Twitter to triage problems and arrange for second line support to reach people with a genuine issue is a good way to build goodwill.

It's a good idea to set up a presence on all the major social sites, too. Even if you don't use them full time, claiming your company's username on all the important sites, and directing your customers to your main website will prevent someone else from stealing that username and using it for something that could damage your reputation.

Try not to get too upset about negative messages posted online. Sometimes, the loudest, most vitriolic posters are people that aren't even regular users of your product. It's always nice to try to resolve complaints, but make sure you know why they're complaining, and focus on your real customers - not anonymous internet posters.

Author Bio : This article was written by James Harper on behalf of systems. James is interested in all aspects of business and is particuarly interested in how the quality of a customer service line can affect profits and customer retention.