8 Ways to Power Your Customer Service Efforts with Social MediaMay 26, 2015
It is no secret that social media has shortened the distance between a company and its customers. As a result, companies have opportunities at every customer touch-point to impress or disappoint. Customers today are connected with their smartphones and tablets 24 x 7 and often turn to social media as a go-to place for interacting with a brand, making it an excellent medium for a company to build and strengthen relationships with its customers. Did you know that –
- In just a few years, 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience (Gartner)
- 91% of organizations said they aspire to be among the customer experience leaders in their industry, yet only 37% had started a formal CXM initiative. (Oracle)
- 42% of people will post about a good customer experience they had on social media, but many more (53%) will tell their friends about a bad one. (American Express Global Customer Service Barometer)
1. Be where your customers are
The first step in providing outstanding service is getting to know where your customers are. Research on the channels where your customers are present and work towards establishing a presence on those social channels. This allows customers to reach you instantly resulting in lower frustration levels.
2. Discover what customers want
Social media is a great channel for customers to voice their opinions and thoughts. Timely monitoring of what customers are talking about with respect to your brand can help you instantly jump into the conversation and offer insights. Remember, it may not always be about offering help regarding YOUR product / service – sometimes just being ‘there’ for your customers and offering help on other topics too can get you some extra customer service brownie points. Now, who wouldn’t want that? Take a look at how Uber engages its customers:
3. Get a pulse on your customer’s needs with analytics
Proactively getting ahead of topics that are being associated with your brand can be helpful in foreseeing customer service issues and nipping them in the bud. Research by Gartner predicted that more than half of all agent interactions will be influenced by real-time analytics by 2018. And Forrester lists predictive analytics as one of the top customer service trends in 2015. Case in point – Blinds.com does an excellent job of monitoring top conversations (good and bad) of their employees with the help of Zoomph’s detailed social media analytics. This helps the company keep track of trending topics, hashtags, and terms associated with their brand – all in real-time, putting Blinds.com at the center for their employees community. This effort has met with huge success and a lot of happy employees!
4. Don’t ignore social feedback
While responding to positive and neutral feedback is important, negative feedback is what you need to pay very CLOSE attention to. It is never acceptable to ignore negative feedback. While dealing with this type of feedback ask yourself “what can I do to ease the customer’s pain – and make the situation better? Set up an internal policy to deal with such feedback swiftly and efficiently. Use a comprehensive social listening tool like Zoomph to track feedback effectively and efficiently.
5. Be available at all times
The number one rule of using social media for improving customer service is being readily available to take in the feedback and suggestions that are coming your way! According to a report published by Convince and Convert, 42 percent of customers complaining on social media expect a response from a company within 60 minutes. Remember, the longer it takes for an irate customer to get in touch with you the more negative his feedback is going to be. Let’s take a cue from X-Box – the Guinness World Record holder of “The Most Responsive Corporate Account on Twitter.”
6. Keep an eye on the competition
Like the saying goes – “Competition brings out the best in products and worst in man” learning from competition can be incredibly helpful in improving your product / service. Keeping a close eye to what customers are saying about competitive products will in turn help you with ideas and tips to improve your service and avoid any customer service mishaps.
7. Be Human
As humans, we all like talking with other humans and not machines. Keeping interaction conversational and human is key in combating negativity during a bad customer experience. Pre-loaded and template messages are boring and dated. Make sure to tailor messages to suit the need of the moment while remembering to keep it professional. And yes, letting a bit of your brand’s personality shine through wouldn’t hurt at all! In the example above, Xbox Support tweets are signed off with the initials of the person who is interacting with customers at that time.
8. Respond in private
Negative customer experiences can turn into wildfires within no time with people participating, sharing and ridiculing the brand publicly. This can be avoided. The best way to avoid a disaster like this is to take the conversation offline and in private – over the phone, in a private message or via email.
Sound social listening can prove extremely crucial in handling customer service issues. Always be prompt in responding to feedback and offer genuine help. When customers receive good service through social media they are almost 3 times more likely to recommend that brand. (Harvard Business Review). Don’t ignore social feedback, transform it into something positive! Use social media monitoring to provide rapid response to customer complaints, turning any naysayers into lifelong brand advocates.