As customers are increasingly using social channels to manage their customer service interactions, with nearly 70% of consumers having used social channels for customer service on at least one occasion, consumers are becoming more demanding and driving the change in how companies are communicating with them. Customers are more mobile, open to 24/7 interactions, including intuitive and free flowing technology, and expect swift responses relevant to the channel of their choice.
Amanda Blakey, Marketing Manager at Echo-U, shares her top tips for embracing social media customer support in 2018.
An opportunity to engage your customer
It is evident that the connection between brands and consumers has never been closer and although companies were always aware of the power of the consumers’ word of mouth, the impact of social media engagement gives the consumer a far larger audience. Consumers are three times as likely to recommend a brand when they experience positive social customer care and freely mention brands when posting their milestones and achievements too. This is a fantastic opportunity for brands to create a customer relationship and a valuable conversation rather than simply pushing product sales.
Reach out to ensure you are on the right channels
Consumers spend 20-40% more with brands that engage and respond to them via social media. Companies can embrace this opportunity and ensure they are on the right channels to start those valuable conversations and the best way to do that is to ask their consumers what channel(s) they choose. This is a simple question but worth getting right at the outset and directly from the consumer so you get that customer journey right. Companies generally discover that certain channels are more appropriate for their consumer depending on whether they are B2B or B2C. For example, Instagram might be a good channel for B2C brands as more brands are using Instagram to promote their products and this might be where customers are spending most of their time.
Engagement leads to value
By engaging on social channels with consumers, brands can add value to their business in many ways. Resolving a customer issue on social media can cost less (up to 1/6th) compared to a traditional interaction and 71% of consumers will recommend brands following a positive interaction with them. Brands can add value within their customer care teams if those teams have a degree of channel agility - they can move between channels (e.g. from voice, to email, to Twitter for example) to maintain productivity throughout the peaks and troughs of consumer demand. With recent developments in AI, chatbots and self-serve applications, you can save company resources and make life easier for consumers by automating common interactions.
All brands should strive to be authentic in their conversations with consumers and it is important this is extended to the social channels too. Companies and their customer service teams need to be well briefed on how to ‘speak’ to consumers on social channels to ensure the brand personality and the tone of the conversation echoes the brand but is also appropriate for the channel and the issue. Guidance on this can be very helpful to your team ensuring they understand the nuances, how to take cues from the customer and if the campaign is appropriate for different tools. We talk differently on social media - generally shortened sentences, emojis, slang, exclamation marks and lengthened words. Listen to what the consumer is saying, have a valuable conversation and don’t be afraid to take it offline if necessary. Listening to consumer feedback is key - by paying attention to what your customers are saying, this will help you to push your brand in the right direction.