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New Customers: Retailers Experiment on Ways to Win Loyalty
The internet has changed advertising and marketing for good and digital media, in particular, have transformed the interactions of brands with target audiences from a one-way street of marketing messages to something more akin to a two-way conversation. To start that "conversation", however, brands need to find a way to break the ice.
At BT, the UK telecoms company, Bian Salins, the head of social media innovation, believes the conversations customers have with each other can be just as valuable as those they have with the provider. That is particularly true when it comes to service and support, she says.
"Our social media strategy is two-fold. First, we take our conversations to where our customers are, such as Twitter. Second, we host a community forum on our site, where customers can discuss the service and support theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re receiving." While this community forum, based on software from Lithium Technologies and launched in January 2010, is primarily aimed at existing customers, she says, it has proved valuable in attracting new ones to BT. "Over time, the more prominent the community has become and the more word-of-mouth has spread, we find that people who arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t currently BT customers are registering for the community to ask about service quality, pricing, that sort of thing," she says.