Before U.S. Cellular even had an official social media presence, Sherri Maxson recognized a star in Sharif Renno, a renegade social media guru who had started a real following and increased sales by 22%. His Milwaukee customers loved him, the brand and one another. In fact, when Renno was asked to produce five happy customers for a video testimonial, he brought in 20.
U.S. Cellular needed to find out what fed Renno’s customer love and how the company could make that work for all of its stores. Jessica Masterson, U.S. Cellular’s social media manager, explained how the company developed a program based on Renno’s highly successful model of extra-mile customer service.
- Treat customers like neighbors. Masterson explained that treating customers like neighbors expands on great customer service by adding a more personal, local tie to the relationship. She encouraged stores to emulate Renno’s model by producing quarterly community events and partnering with activities on social networks. The goal is to create great community relationships online and offline.
- Define guidelines. Masterson told employees to maintain their voice, uphold customer respect, be credible with content they share and support the community. Their training includes a 200-plus-page toolkit, which can teach anyone from a beginner to a social media star a thing or two; weekly webinars to support the toolkit; and collaborative, peer-learning environments.
- Listen to the community. For U.S. Cellular, this meant more than talking about mobile phones. The company’s salespeople responded to tweets about layoffs, connected customers to one another and listened for their key advocates. What they found was more content, more engagement and more people talking about the brand on a national level.
You can watch Maxson and Masterson’s presentation. Their slides are available.