People increasingly turn to social media to engage with brands. Social has matured as a communication channel and people have blended it into their lives. They expect brands to do the same.
While many companies now use social media regularly, very few take social customer service seriously.
Currently, 92.5% of brands fail to meet customer expectations on social media and these failures can have big implications.
Quality customer service – regardless of channel – relies on a meaningful, efficient, solution-focused exchange between companies and their customers. The growing preference for social media as a preferred channel requires your organization to re-think its customer service strategy.
Good social customer service strategy keeps your brand in the conversation and doesn’t allow malcontents and competitors to speak for you.
Stakes are high, and sloppy customer care is not a risk that any modern brand can afford to take.
Bad social customer service isn’t just embarrassing, it’s bad for business.
- 38% will feel negatively toward the brand without a response, and a full 60% will Tweet about their negative experiences.
- 2/3 of customers with poor customer experience reduce their spending with a brand.
- 55% of Americans have switched brands due to poor customer service.
Customers turn to social media when issues arise, expecting a response. 33% prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone. How equipped are you to embrace social media as a customer service channel?
Any opportunity to hear customer feedback is a gift.
Not welcoming customer feedback and ignoring their requests via any channel is a recipe for disaster.
On social media, feedback has an audience and customers often turn to social networks when they’ve exhausted other communication channels.
The 4 Essentials of Good Social Customer Service
58% of users who reach out to brands via social never get a response. Every brand will say they want to improve customer experience but many fail at truly delivering it.
Process is key and these 4 components sum up a sturdy process.
1. Provide a Dedicated Channel Just for Customer Feedback and Support.
Why let online ratings sites be only the place where customers can express their concerns?
Furnishing an open, dedicated channel, such as a separate Twitter handle (example: @yourbrand_help), conveys to the world that:
- You want to hear from customers.
- Your desire is to fix their issue.
- Your goal is to keep customers happy and satisfied.
Witnessing a brand behave like this instills credibility and trust. It can often attract more customers…without spending a penny on marketing and advertising.
2. Assign a Qualified Individual(s) to Manage Social Customer Service
Given that many customer messages go unanswered on social media, it’s clear that brands haven’t put much attention on designating someone to oversee their digital reputation. In many cases, customer care is left to a group of busy people who view it as an afterthought.
Failure isn’t an option. Promote or hire an individual with the following attributes whose focus is delighting customers and improving the brand’s digital reputation:
- Marketing & branding experience
- Social media savvy
- PR perceptiveness
- Emotional maturity
- Clear, concise, professional speech
- Ability to resolve – not inflame
- Comfortable with technology
- Sales experience (to recognize opportunities)
- Industry experience is a plus
3. Monitor Social Media Channels, Look for Opportunities to Help
Social media monitoring allows brands to gain powerful insights into customers, competitors, and industry influencers. Monitoring is done in real time and can often mitigate a social media crisis.
I happen to know a brand who was monitoring hashtags recently on Twitter and saw someone’s tweet about the trouble they were having. The brand reached out to offer help, arranged the fix, and created a customer for life.
Set up notifications so your team will be alerted when someone messages you via Facebook or any other social channel.
In a broader monitoring scope, social media monitoring tools allow brands to have their finger on the pulse of their digital reputation. Deciding which one to use can be daunting. Here are a few we can recommend:
- For smaller audience monitoring on the lower end of pricing: Agora Pulse, Sprout Social, Mention and Rival IQ.
- For more robust, larger audience monitoring but much higher pricing: Brandwatch, and Marketing Cloud-Radian 6
4. Listen and Respond to Customers, No Matter What They Have to Say
Monitoring affords opportunities to listen closely to what’s being said about brands and you have to be prepared for everything you hear.
Some businesses prefer to avoid “negative” feedback and turn off certain avenues that customers would use to express themselves. Do this at your own peril because one way or another, if they want to (and need to) get an issue resolved, they won’t give up.
It’s best to leave the airwaves open and tune into the frequency of your customer’s sentiment.
If a customer wants to give feedback, let them. There’s really no way to escape it and embracing it lets other would-be buyers know that you care about your customers and their opinions.
Don’t ignore valuable opportunities to engage more customers. Develop a process to make your brand always available to customers via social media. When you do a great job with social customer service, every interaction is a chance to learn more and improve.