The Guide to Social Customer Service
• 35 percent of Americans are using Facebook to complain to brands
• 88 percent of consumers are less likely to purchase from a company that leaves questions on social media unanswered.
• One third of worldwide social media users prefer social care and hence ask questions, report satisfaction or complain— through social channels.
- Nielsen's Social Media Report
It’s clear and official: Social media is the new water cooler of customer service. From being just a platform for marketing and advertising, it has evolved to become a valid and important channel through which consumers solicit service. And social care is not limited to any particular industry. Every organization irrespective of its size and domain has its consumers and target audience active in some social channel.
Social care practices are hence, an expected action from all. However in majority of cases, social care practices are stuck at planning. Reason being that organizations get cold feet when it comes to providing social care in real-time. The very fact that a slightest bit of glitch can mar the reputation is what bothers them. They perceive social media as a for-customer phenomenon. But that’s not the reality.
Just like for the customers, social media has its own series of pros for the companies too. Believe it or not: it brings ample opportunities to positively impact sales and customer loyalty. All what is needed is a thorough planning and implementation of the best social care practices (like the ones mentioned below):
1. Be next to your Customers
Social Media is huge. You cannot expect to be in all places especially if you are a company who is just getting started with social media service. So better, take it one at a time. Choose one of the channels where you and your team will first focus your time and resources.
And how do you choose the channel?
Find out where your maximum customers are. While Facebook and Twitter is the common social platforms for most companies, nowadays, consumers have also been seen socializing much on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram.
Tip: unlike the bigger organizations who find several mentions of their brand across social channels, chances are that SMBs do not experience the same scenario. If you too do not find much of your customers talking about your brand online, that doesn’t mean that social care can be postponed for a while.
Start targeting the channels which hosts maximum of your industry related conversations. Proactively engage in these conversations to come into the sight of your target audience.
Remember by adding something of value to these conversations, it can be a great opportunity for you to come in contact with your potential customers.
2. Listen to your customers first
Understand the pulse of the customers’ comments to identify the kind of issues being raised over social media.
• How many comments are related to service feedback (both positive and negative)?
• How many comments demand immediate attention?
• When are your customers most active on social media?
Getting answers to some of the above-mentioned questions will help you plan out the next course of action. So let’s say if you encounter abundant numbers of customer support requests, you can decide whether you want your team to handle the issues directly through the social channel or plan to implement a separate dedicated line of support for social customers.
Tip: Use social media management tools to do the weekly/monthly monitoring. The really good ones provide all the social feeds together to provide you a complete picture. You find it easy to sift through the noise and zero in on the main crucial posts that require an immediate response. And this is precisely what sums up the next point too.
3. De-clutter the posts to prioritize the crucial ones
One of the foremost problems in delivering social care is the debris that clutters the funnel. Manually sifting through the noise to find the top priority contacts takes up a lot of time that delays the immediacy of the response to the otherwise crucial posts.
Tip: choose a customer relationship management platform with social media monitoring and management functionality. These CRM platforms with intelligent social tracking streamline all the feeds together and give you a complete picture in one shot.
Going through the posts, you can easily categorize them in two distinct sections:
Hot ones that include:
• Complaints from dissatisfied customers
• Urgent Service or product requests
• Issues (or outages) that affect many users at large.
Cold ones that include:
• General reference to products or services
• Positive feedbacks
• Comments aimed at your industry at large.
As a result, it becomes much easier for you and your team to prioritize the social inquiries and respond to them accordingly.
And not just this, considering that you are using a cloud CRM software to manage your social media, you can always refer to the customers’ background to understand the immediacy and seriousness of their support requests.
So let’s say if the customer has had serious problems regarding your service earlier too, this means that the grievance level (this time will be very high). Immediately, you can turn the post/tweet into a support ticket. You can easily escalate issues behind the scenes, and respond to the customer within the desired timeframe.
What’s more you can also create an archive of interactions to refer again in the future.
Customer service expectations are rising year over year. And social media service is one of the most decisive ways to meet these ever-increasing expectations. However, merely being active on different social channels is not the key to stellar social care. Companies really need to brainstorm ideas and come up with a mix and match of proven and innovative social media service practices (combined with the best of social media management tools).
Patricia is a full time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and market expert in CRM software. In the last five year she has worked with various companies as CRM consultant to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud CRM consultation, CRM customization and integration solutions to small enterprises. For last one she is engaged in building ConvergeHub, cloud-based CRM solution for SMBs, as a consultant.Follow her at Twitter: @jones_converge