Reaching out to customers isn’t just done through calls or email, nowadays users expect a brand to have a presence on social media. A study by the Yankee Group shows that 70% of consumers want to interact through social media, and we can only expect that number to grow as the years go by. While marketing through social media is a given, offering customer service in this manner is a less obvious choice.
And yet, it’s more important than ever: the JD Powers and Associates 2013 Social Media Benchmark study has found that 67% of customers have used a company’s social media site for customer service.
There is no escaping it; if you haven’t adapted your operations to provide effective customer service through social media, you’re already behind the curve.
So how exactly does one integrate social media into the customer service experience?
Make Use of Social Routing
Social media has the potential to turn the world of customer service upside down. In the traditional customer service experience, a customer calls in and is then routed by the phone system to an available agent. This gives little control to the customer, and they have to accept which agent they get. It’s not uncommon to see customers frustrated by this model and call multiple times trying to get the result they want to hear, even if all the agents they spoke with offered the same response.
Social routing, on the other hand, offers an experience where the customer chooses how, or who, will resolve his concern. The contact center website or social media channel is first setup with a menu of agents detailing their name, photograph, skills and a brief biography. This menu is updated live and constantly, along with data like average wait time before the agents are available. Customers can then choose which agent is the most appropriate to resolve their concern, and even leave feedback or a rating for the agent, which appears on the agent’s details so that future customers can get a better idea of who can assist them.
This kind of system is already in place in many multinational organizations such as General Electric, within the company intranet when resolving IT questions. There’s software available to interface with your social media channels to make it happen.
Provide Pro-Active Service
One of the simplest ways to integrate social media into your customer service operations is the use of your channels to provide information ahead of time. Facebook and Twitter are ubiquitous and most customers make use of them on a daily basis. Leverage this by sharing information on things like:
- service outages
- product suggestions
- issuing responses to crisis situations
- just reaching out to customers who are talking about your brand.
When Delta Airlines experienced a system-wide outage that cancelled hundreds of flights in 2016, they moved quickly on social media in response. They offered $200 travel vouchers immediately to everyone who was delayed by more than three hours, or experienced a cancelled flight. This pro-active mitigation of a crisis was communicated instantly to the entire world.
Other methods include monitoring your Facebook and social media pages, as well as setting up alerts that locate customer posts talking about your brand. Customers have taken to Twitter to voice out complaints or just talk about the brand, and they expect an answer. Yet 71% of messages on Twitter do not get a response, according to a study by evolve24, and yet 86% loved a brand more just for responding when only 1% hated the company more, regardless of the content of the response.
There’s nothing like using Twitter and other social media channels to have a highly-visible presence to reassure consumers and build your brand.
Fortunately, these measures are definitely within the reach of most companies. All you need to do is listen and respond, and you’ll surely be able to provide a better customer service experience.
Not convinced that social media is worth investing in? Read our blog post 4 Reasons Why Contact Centers Need to Incorporate Social Media in 2018