Social media can be an effective extension of your customer service organization. While marketing departments tend to drive social media programming, customer-centric companies are incorporating social media monitoring and response—often dubbed “social care”—into their customer service initiatives. Here are several ways social media can help you improve customer service:
Real-time customer monitoring and rapid response
According to a Harris Interactive poll, 75 percent of customers believe it takes too long to reach a live customer service agent over the phone. And waiting for a response to an email or online form can take even longer than the hold music. Social media not only allows for companies to get real-time assessments of what people are saying about their brands, products, services and more, but with a dedicated response team at the ready—alerted by listening tools that flag negative comments or general questions—companies are able to reply to customer inquiries and issues quickly and easily.
How customers prefer to interact with brands
According to Harvard Business Review, “30 percent of social media users prefer social care to phoning customer service. This is happening across age groups and income brackets: 17 percent of people older than 55 prefer social media over the telephone for service, and nearly half of people earning more than $200k per year prefer social media over live interactions for customer service.”
When a customer calls an 800 number, another customer can’t listen in and learn from the call—or hear how well it was handled. But when a customer fires off an angry tweet or asks a product question on Facebook, the handling of that inquiry is public, making it a great opportunity for top-notch customer service reps to make the company shine. Except when regulated industries like health care or finance may need to take the conversation offline for legal reasons, customer conversations via social media outlets are transparent, which can go a long way in growing customer confidence in and trust of brands. And, since experiences are already shared online with ratings and reviews easily accessible, it’s a way to contribute to the conversation instead of just being the object of the conversation. Social media also provides a natural forum for soliciting positive feedback, giving you customer testimonials that can be shared out on your website, in customer presentations and more.
According to Twitter, which has 313 million monthly active users, companies engaging in customer service on the site have found that it:
- Costs one-sixth as much as call centers
- Can lead to over 95 percent of issues being resolved in channel
- Can achieve a customer satisfaction rate of over 90 percent
Whether your marketing team elevates issues with customer service or whether social care is a dedicated function of the customer service department, brands would do well to keep an eye on the socialsphere to help increase customer satisfaction and positive reviews.