Customer service via social platforms provides a wonderful opportunity for companies to turn every negative comment or customer service issue into a positive experience and better equity for the brand. Customer service is the new marketing, and soon managing customer service over social platforms will be the standard expectation – giving consumers the opportunity to gets answers faster, and providing brands the opportunity to show your consumer just how much you care.
Social media is not going anywhere anytime soon. In 2016, 72 percent of all adult internet users have a social media profile and it is thought that 2.5 billion people worldwide will use some sort of social media site by 2018. Between all forms of communication, our society heavily relies on quicker means of communication – turning to email, text and social media before even thinking of picking up the phone. The same goes for their customer service needs.
A rule of thumb: When it comes to customer service, the worst response is no response. Social media can play a heavier role on listening and engaging than just being used as a publication tool. Let’s walk through six benefits of offering a seamless customer service experience through your brand’s social media channels.
- Reduce cost and time spent on phone calls.
Using social media/live chat as a customer service tool reduces staffing customer service employees at 100 percent because of the unpredictability of the influx in calls at different times, ultimately reducing time and cost spent for a company. The average cost per resolution via customer service phone lines is $6 compared to $1 for social media.
- Allows for quick response time to customer complaints.
It’s best to respond to a comment/complaint within five minutes if at all possible. It has been proven – the quicker the response, the more satisfied the customer, and 86 percent of people change their mind about a purchase after reading a comment about it.
Use community managers to monitor channels closely and respond to issues with approved messaging as soon as possible. If the situation is severe, be sure to bring the conversation to the next level, putting the consumer in direct contact with a supervisor/manager that can better assist them.
- Provide immediate insight into consumer sentiment.
Social media is the first platform to receive customer feedback with a direct connection to its customers. Through listening and monitoring, social media is able to provide the rest of the marketing team with thoughtful insight into what resonates with the customer and how the brand/product is being received. Not to mention, opportunities to directly ask your consumer for their insight with options like embedded Facebook surveys and Twitter feedback cards, seeing as high as a 70 percent response rate.
- Manage brand sentiment and voice.
Take control of the way people are talking about your brand. One in five comments are a social media threat, and harmful comments create a decrease in performance and brand reputation, as well as pose a legal risk. Not only is it the responsibility of the brand to protect itself from harm on social media, but it must also protect its audience from harmful or offensive conversations that could potentially arise around the brand.
It is important to respond to complaints or profane tweets so the rest of your audience knows you’re aware and handling it. Respond publically to brand issues and then move the conversation to a private space to find a resolution between the company and individual.
- Reach your audiences in new ways.
Show your customers you care and are listening to them by providing a unique and creative customer service experience. Knowing that 80 percent of customer service requests come from Twitter, you may want to consider creating a second channel of communication for only customer service needs, leaving your main Twitter handle for publishing content and engaging with fans. Also, consider responding to complaints in new and interesting ways – maybe even personalized video tweets, or sending a special branded gift to help make up for a complaint or to just let a loyal fan know you appreciate and recognize them.
- Connect with your consumer on a personal and intimate level.
Let your customers know who they’re dealing with – a real person that cares about their opinion and issues. Don’t just give your fans a generic customer service number line, but go the extra mile and take the time to resolve an issue in the same space on social media because nobody likes the channel to shift.
Empathize with the consumer and let them know their opinions matter (less than half of brands are doing this according to Twitter), and assure them that any necessary actions will be taken to come to a resolution. Use the customer’s name in the response and sign it with an initial so they know it’s not a bot, but rather a personalized message.
Now with all of that being said, take on the day and head into the night using social media as a primary tool to successfully monitor and alleviate customer service quandaries.
Written by: Social Media Strategist, Kali Huebner