Consumers are raising their voices more than ever. No longer just a marketing tool, social media has become a hub for real conversations. Brands now have the opportunity to engage with customers in their natural habitat. In 2014, there were over 879 million complaints directed at brands across social media and just as many complements, questions, comparisons and so on. This number only continues to grow. Whether you like it or not, people are talking about your brand on social media. The good news is, with the right strategy, social media can be a valuable asset for your company. If you invest in creating a social customer service program, you’ll see an invaluable return on investment.
Brands who meet or exceed expectations are pulling away from the pack. They’re establishing long term, loyal customers who become powerful brand advocates across these same channels. Fail to respond to customers where they talk and you risk losing them to those who listen.
Whether you have an established social customer service program or are starting from the ground up, here are a few tips to keep in mind for long term success:
Get Your Priorities Straight
Companies often become overwhelmed by the mountains of incoming feedback and inquiries coming in from multiple channels. Without a proper management and prioritization system, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. What’s more, consumers are expecting faster and faster responses. The key to success lies in understanding how to manage each individual inbound and prioritize accordingly. For example, if we were to receive the following tweets:
@Clarabridge how do I access my customer feedback dashboard from my desktop?
@Clarabridge my entire system has shut down due to a power outage at the office, help!
While both of these tweets deserve attention, the latter is a higher priority. Companies should strive to respond to all incoming requests, even those that might not include a question or appear to be actionable. In order to do so however, a system must be in place to prioritize those that require immediate action. Sort requests accordingly and distribute responsibility as necessary across teams to ensure accurate, consistent and timely responses.
Be Your Brand
Social media is a key consumer touchpoint and therefore an influential outlet for a company’s brand voice. But the platform is a beast of its own. It demands unique language that differs from other communication channels such as phone or email. Every tweet presents the opportunity to create a two-way dialogue with customers. You must adjust your brand voice to match customer needs without losing sight of who you are. In order to maintain consistency, companies should create response templates. This ensures that employees have the resources to both answer questions and maintain a consistent brand voice. Response templates can be developed for commonly asked questions. However, employees should be made aware these response are just a starting point.
If you can solve an issue on social (rather than redirecting to another channel), solve it on social. Your accountants will thank you: taking care of a single inbound telephone call typically costs a company between $6 and $8 per interaction. Handling that same problem on social media costs less than $1 (1). The platform increasingly presents the opportunity to solve customer issues in real-time in a cost-effective and authentic manner. To make this viable, ensure employees have the resources to solve basic and recurring questions across the platform. Additionally, don’t keep information stored in silos. Instead, companies should ensure open communication and involvement across departments. Share knowledge and resources that may prove useful for customer service reps meeting customers directly on social media.
For a step by step guide on how you can leverage your social customer service program to drive long term business success, check out our full eBook on the topic here.
Susan Ganeshan is Clarabridge’s Chief Marketing Officer. Under Susan’s leadership, Clarabridge Marketing produces insightful, educational content that enables business leaders to deliver on the promise of best-in-class customer experience. Follow Susan on Twitter @.