A Case Study for Using Social Media in a Service Industry 1


Charlestown A Case Study for Using Social Media in a Service Industry

Renting an apartment seems to be a pretty straightforward service business: space for money.

Of course, anyone that’s ever rented to or from someone knows it’s not as simple as that. Whether it’s a maintenance issue, or a noisy party, or an impending home improvement project, there’s a need for additional communication between landlord and tenant.

Luckily, since my landlords and I share certain interests — one’s an architect, the other’s a construction manager; I’m a design blogger — we’d already connected on Facebook. Now, in addition to phone and email, we have an additional means of contacting each other when needed.

Saturday morning, as I was cleaning up after going for a run, I glanced at my laptop and noticed a new Facebook notification. My landlord had posted this:

There’s a package downstairs for Gradon Tripp.

I went downstairs and, sure enough, there was a package with my name on it. As I walked back up the stairs to my apartment, I thought how social media has changed even the scope of owning a brownstone here in Boston.

That’s Great for Your Landlord, but What About MY Business?

This specific example can be applied to a variety of service industries of all sizes. Just think of how your company’s service could improve if you had your customers’ social media accounts in your CRM database (opted-in by them, of course)?

Imagine getting a tweet when your dry cleaning is ready to be picked up. Or a Facebook message when your car is due for service. Or being reminded of your dinner reservation through a shout on Foursquare.

But what about B2B? Do you have account managers — or anyone else — that has to call out to existing clients for service or account maintenance-type issues? Having more open channels of communication with your clients would give your people more opportunities to do what they do best — provide killer service.

As the social media sphere continues to develop, and more and more companies start to dip their toes into the social web, there’s been a corresponding increase in the demand for case studies and best practices. Even small encounters like this can act as a guide for how to interact with your customers using social media.

What do you think?

  • sue_anne

    Brocade Communications is doing a really good job of using social media tools to communicate to its B2B customers. It's largely built in-house on the Jive platform, but it incorporates blogging, forums, video and other tools to both provide communication to its customers and also allow the two-way communication between its customers and internal staff (customer service, engineering, etc.).

    Do you know @30lines and/or @lisatrosien on Twitter? They both work in the multi-family / apartment industry and also do a hashtag chat (#aptchat) every week with other apartment folks.