If your brand ever thought that social media was just a passing trend, think again. What began as a fun and innovative way to communicate with friends is now an essential business tool for delivering customer service. Here are six social customer service rules your brand needs to know—and follow—right now.
As social media use continues to increase, so does the demand for customer service on these channels. On Twitter alone, customer service interactions have increased 250% in the last two years. Customers are using these channels to communicate directly with brands, advocate for them when they are happy, and share their frustrations when they are unsatisfied. For all these reasons, your brand must make social customer service a priority—your customers are waiting to be heard.
It may seem like social conversations take up too much agent time, but answering late or ignoring customers altogether is very costly to brands. According to Convince and Convert, answering a social media complaint increases customer advocacy by as much as 25%, helping brands retain these customers while gaining the attention of potential customers as well. Conversely, ignoring complaints is highly damaging—a Conversocial study found that 88% of consumers are less likely to purchase from brands that do not answer complaints on social media. To win your customers’ loyalty, answer them quickly and sincerely.
Being attentive on these channels builds a good rapport with both current and potential customers. The more they feel your brand listens to their concerns, the more they will trust and do business with you. Indeed, a study by Bain & Company found that customers spend 20-40% more when companies engage and respond on these platforms.
Compared to other channels, social media is far less expensive. For example, McKinsey & Company states that a social media exchange costs 1/6th the cost of a call. In addition to such savings, your company is also proactively retaining customers who might otherwise abandon you. Social customer service is therefore vital to reducing operational costs and the high expense of customer attrition.
It’s important to remember that a conversation may need to move to another channel at some point. This is why your brand should embrace an omnichannel approach when delivering customer service on any channel, ensuring that important comments are not lost when channels are switched. For example, when an agent begins an interaction on one social platform, he should give his name and additional contact information in case the conversation needs to be moved to the phone. Once the switch is made, the agent should be able to access the social media exchange and continue the conversation seamlessly.
Social media may have a reputation for lighthearted and personal communication, but agents must be trained to use it professionally. Communication with customers is simply not the same as peer conversation, and your brand must train agents to use proper language and tone. Agents may be friendly with customers on these channels, but they should know, for example, which vocabulary to use, how to handle upset customers, and when to propose a switch to a more appropriate channel if a case needs greater attention. Keeping up with customers on social channels requires a proactive manner, well-trained agents, and a commitment to resolving issues thoroughly. By doing so, your brand will satisfy your current customers and attract new ones for the long-term.
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