6 Key Trends Shaping Social Customer Service

As social media use continues to grow, customers demand greater brand engagement on these channels. And don’t think that millennials are the only people driving engagement: According to a Global Web Index report, 97% of online adults aged 16-64 claimed to have visited at least one social network in the past month. Just how does this behavior impact brands? Sprout Social notes that 73% of social media users follow a brand because they are interested in its products or services. When planning your customer service strategy on social channels, consider these six current trends.

The rise of video on social channels

Social media users are watching more videos than ever. Facebook in particular is a popular platform for consuming video content, especially with the growing use of its live videos. According to the company, 100 million hours of video are viewed daily on the platform. As mobile use also continues to grow, video is fast becoming an ideal way to engage with customers. Offer customers insight into your brand events and inform them in an entertaining way by creating meaningful, real-time video content.

Greater peer influence

Social media influencers play an important role in customer loyalty. According to a study by Collective Bias, 70% of millennial customers are influenced by their peers when making purchasing decisions. In addition, the study revealed that 30% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product recommended by a blogger who is not a celebrity. The implication is that social media users—and millennials in particular—are more trusting of people who are like them and have the same needs. Engage influencers whenever possible, and consider your most loyal customers your brand advocates. Acknowledging their support of your brand is key to winning their long-term loyalty and the attention of other potential customers.

Artificial intelligence streamlines service

Chatbots are changing the way customers interact with businesses. As more and more brands integrate chatbots into their messaging applications, customers benefit from more seamless and effortless experiences. Use chatbots to answer simple customer questions, such as those that might be addressed in a list of frequently asked questions. In addition, use chatbots to offer personalized recommendations to customers, help them complete purchases, and keep them informed about delivery information and product availability.

Longer support hours

Social media channels are essentially 24/7 platforms. For this reason, there is increased pressure on brands to provide longer support hours. As much as possible, your brand should aim to extend its customer support hours on these channels. A Sprout Social study found that 89% of social messages are indeed ignored by companies. Make sure to never neglect a customer’s message, and train agents to respond to customer queries promptly.

The use of social data for improved service

Social data can reveal how your customers really feel about your company. Paying close attention to mentions of your brand on social media can help you understand how best to use these platforms and devise a stronger customer service strategy overall. Analytics may also be used to measure average agent response times on individual channels, allowing your company to determine if faster response times are necessary.

A personalized approach

Social media is very personal in nature, and that trait applies to social customer service as well. Successful brands know how to treat customers like individuals on social channels. Take the time to answer customers in full, using friendly language that sets them at ease. Engaging with customers in a public way builds trust and sends the message that your brand cares about each person. Even if your agents move conversations to other channels, they should always close the conversation on the original social platform to show that the situation has been handled properly. Great social customer service requires a quick reactive approach to answering customer inquiries and a proactive approach to engaging customers through appealing content. By keeping these six key trends in mind, your company can turn every customer on social media into a loyal brand advocate.

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