The Art of Integrating Customer Service Into Social Media Management
This post was originally published on December 22, 2015 by the same author.
Social media is a powerful, organic force that can make or break a brand — or even set the tone and personality of an organization. One of the most overlooked facets of social media management is its power to enhance your customer service strategy. According to Nielsen’s Social Media report, 50% of your audience uses social media to seek advice, share a review, or make some noise (aka complain). Did we mention that 30% of social media users also prefer this type of customer care to complex phone prompts or sitting on hold for 45 minutes? Yeah, we weren’t surprised either.
If you aren’t already using social media monitoring to integrate customer service into your social media strategy, we’ve put together our top eight reasons to jumpstart your social care team.
1. Social Care Drives Social Media Strategy:
If the heart of social media strategy is about creating authentic brand experiences, then it should be easy to understand how a personalized social media experience might satisfy your customers’ need to feel heard. Social media is a proverbial platform or soapbox for your customers to cheer for, or on the flip side — to chastise your brand. When you use social media to monitor your clients’ satisfaction and respond to issues openly in an arena where they arguably have more control than you do, you are setting your brand up for resolution more quickly because the audience knows they are being taken seriously.
2. Multi-channel Care Supports Flawless Social Media Management:
You know the value of multi-channel sales: some people like to talk on the phone, some people prefer to read information online and digest it before making a decision, and others flock to social media to choose the solution their peers recommend. The same applies to customer service. Multi-channel care allows your customers to seek the type of help they need. If they feel best calling in — let them. But if they prefer to interact with you on the fly as they are checking-in at their favorite lunch spot — why inhibit the conversation from evolving naturally? Letting your customers communicate with you how and where they want to do so is a small gesture that reminds them that you care about their needs.
3. Anticipate Your Customers’ Needs With Social Media Monitoring:
Good social media monitoring allows you to understand and anticipate your customers’ needs. By listening to what your customers are saying on social media and adapting your self-service portals accordingly, or addressing hints of poor service experiences before they blossom into full-scale issues, you can cut back on the volume of care required of your customers. This can save you costs on call centers or service fees and — more importantly — create and maintain a satisfied customer base. After all, keeping a customer is a lot easier than finding a new one.
4. Set Your Own Benchmarks. Against Yourself:
Social media monitoring also helps to ensure that you remain honest with yourself. With such a wide variety of monitoring tools from word cloud generators to social media attitude aggregators, it takes very little effort to gauge and track sentiment toward your brand. If one of your goals is improving customer satisfaction, use social media to get a quick pulse on how you’re measuring up to your expectations. It’s easy to blame slow customer service evolution on complicated or expensive measuring tools and unreliable or qualitative feedback. Social media monitors make it quick, simple, and (hopefully) painless. In other words, no more excuses.
5. Time Is Money:
Most consumers expect a one day turn around when sending emails to a customer service account. And in a world filled with endlessly high call volumes, they also expect service calls to take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. It’s safe to assume that when a customer is reaching out about an issue, waiting does not positively impact the situation. Good social media management that supports your care team can alleviate this pain point in two ways. First, it frees up your customers to multi-task in a pleasant online environment while they wait for a response. Second, it frees up your team to respond to and resolve multiple issues at once on an as-needed basis. We like to think of it as instant gratification at its finest, and on all fronts.
6. Create Brand Advocates Through Social Media Management:
Turn an issue into advocacy. If your social team responds to customers who are self-selecting social users in a speedy and thoughtful fashion, those same public complainers may quickly turn into public brand cheerleaders, touting your individualized service experience, responsiveness, and transparency when dealing with issues. That makes you look like a rock star and allows prospects to see how much you value your customers. This same audience of consumers understands that brands make mistakes. After all, they’re (run by) people, too. How a brand handles those issues is the real question. From that perspective, your customer support must to be included in your social media strategy.
7. Control the Conversation By Setting the Tone:
In the customer service world, it isn’t always what you say — it’s how you say it. Social care gives you the opportunity to respond in a tone that matches your brand, eliminating costly and time-consuming coaching, training, or any errors associated with maintaining call centers. If your brand tone is casual and cool, your social media responses can instill that same sense of calm in unhappy reviewers. If your brand tone is formal, a white-glove approach via customized social posts during and after an issue might be just what your clients need to restore their faith in your organization.
8. Because There’s No Reason Not To:
And last — but not least — why not? Whether you use an agency to take care of your social media management or DIY tools such as Hootsuite, responding to customer service issues and formulating a seamless follow-up plan around your customers’ needs has never been easier, more efficient, or less expensive.
It’s easy to think of social media as a place for top-of-funnel brand explorers to find information or happy customers to engage with your brand. But that would be missing the other 50% who just need a little social love, which is why we believe social media monitoring is a key component when providing flawless customer service and care.