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Members of the agriculture industry can use social media as an effective tool for brand and trust building with consumers.| Bigstock.com, kbuntu
on July 21, 2017

Social media is the new customer service

Consumers are using social media to connect with agriculture producers rather than using face-to-face interaction

Consumers have access to various forms of social media at their fingertips all the time. This allows them to send a message or post a status/comment regarding their feelings toward the service or product they get from any given company, said Leah McGrath, corporate dietitian, Ingles Markets, at the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit in Ashville, North Carolina, July 16-18.

“Social media is your own customer service line,” she said. “It’s incredibly fast moving. Consumers expect an answer within 10 minutes, and if the answer isn’t given within those 10 minutes, then the level of anxiety and irritation keeps going up,” McGrath said. Responding to people is vital, she insisted.

Consumers would rather post their complaints on social media than have a face-to-face conversation.

Consumers would rather post their complaints on social media than have a face-to-face conversation. McGrath believes some of that must have to do with the consumer’s fear of being recognized as the complainant. If McGrath replies to a complaint and asks if the customer reached out to the store manager, the general response is usually no.

“I don’t think this trend is distinct in millennials; I think it crosses all generations, and people are comfortable with it now,” McGrath said.

Tending to social media

McGrath can stream customer interactions 24 hours a day. It’s important to manage your time properly, she explained, so that you can not only tend to your customers but also get other daily work done.

Ingles has even set up an “Ask Leah” page on its website so customers can ask McGrath questions regarding health, nutrition, diets, allergies and Ingles products.

Social media: educational perspective

Rodney Antolock, president of Harris Teeter, looks at social media as a way to reach consumers that are following trends and supply them with information.

The supermarket industry is responsible for meeting every customer’s needs within an eight- to 10-foot case in the store, he said. By interacting with customers, the retailer can meet their demands.  

“I would say one of the biggest trends we have today is trying to satisfy the wide breadth of customers that we have,” he said.

“I think the more positive information that the producers can come out with and then really making that available for the retailer to put on their social media sites, the more we can teach our consumers,” Antolock said. Regardless of which product the market is informing the customer about, it’s important to get that consumer factual information.

Chicken Marketing Summit 2018

Chicken Marketing Summit uniquely explores issues and trends in food marketing and consumer chicken consumption patterns and purchasing behavior. In addition to educational sessions, attendees have numerous networking opportunities to foster interaction between speakers and fellow poultry industry peers. Chicken Marketing Summit 2018 will take place at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, USA on July 22 -24, 2018.

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