The Growing Force of Social Customer Service

Social media platforms continue to dominate the customer service sphere, empowering brands to engage with more customers than ever on a daily basis. Customers reach out to brands for social customer service while also using social media channels to express their sentiments regarding their experiences—a point that can make or break customer loyalty. An Aberdeen Group report found that companies that respond to and engage with customers over social media may expect those customers to spend 20 to 40 percent more with that brand, while the same report found that 71% of consumers who have positive social customer service experiences are likely to recommend that brand to others. These statistics ring especially true for the millennial generation: According to a Desk.com study, four in five millennials would use social media over another channel, while Forbes reported that 62% of millennials surveyed wished to engage with companies on social media. Are brands following this demand? Deloitte reported that only 33% of companies surveyed offer social media channels, while a Forrester report cited that 58% of customer service teams consider social media management their top challenge.These statistics suggest that, while social customer service is more critical than ever, companies need to focus more on both establishing themselves on various social channels and maximizing the impact of their presence through proactive customer engagement. For one, these platforms are excellent for optimizing the customer service experience. Customer service agents need to be efficient with timely responses and never ignore customer service requests on these channels. Since social media moves fast, customers expect quick responses and may leave a brand if their requests are ignored. If an issue needs more in-depth support, agents should also be ready to move the customer to another channel when necessary. In addition, brands should train agents to take a proactive approach toward service and use social listening tools to better understand what people are saying about them. When customers make comments about a brand on social media—whether it reflect contentment or frustration—customer service agents should take a proactive approach and reach out to learn more about the customers’ experiences. If the customer is happy, thanking them for their support and asking what specifically they like can glean more insight into the customer’s mindset. If the feelings are negative, agents should be quick to ask what the brand could be doing better. The human touch is gratifying for customers, and engaging in conversation may yield further positive comments and retweets on social media or even turn negative commentary into positive brand advocacy.Social media may also be used as a power-marketing tool, extending further than social customer service. Keeping customers engaged with brand storytelling is a winning strategy, as customers like to be kept in the loop and better understand the brands they engage with. If a company is involved in charitable work, this should be shared across social channels. Are there special discounts or new products or services? Sharing essential content reflecting the brand’s products and culture are critical to giving customers a global view of brand values while keeping them engaged. Many brands have also found success with marketing campaigns that invite customer input. Asking customers to vote for a favorite product, for example, shows that a brand values their opinions and takes the customer experience seriously when coming up with new products or services to meet their tastes. If a brand is unable to involve customers on that level, simply reaching out to customers for suggestions on what could be improved and welcoming them to share their favorite aspects of a brand on social media through text, photos, and videos are all great modes of engagement.With a hands-on approach, companies may use social media channels as optimal platforms for greater customer engagement, increased sales, and stronger brand advocacy. Learn about Vocalcom software solutions for excellent customer service.

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