Home Diaries Social media The frontlines of new-age customer service

Social media The frontlines of new-age customer service

As customers increasing head online for both pre- and post-sales research and feedback,it is becoming increasingly essential that companies devise social media customer service strategies to match their needs.

In the past most businesses didn’t worry about using social media to deliver customer service. Customer service usually just amounted to ensuring that consumers were greeted with warm smiles at the store front and that great after sales service was provided. But today, more and more customers are demanding social media support as an extension to the service offered on any product. Social media has changed the way businesses manage their customer experience, and virtual networks have evolved to become more than just marketing channels. Studies suggest that more than 50 percent of the online consumers connect to products via social media, and the numbers will only be growing exponentially as the reach of the internet further proliferates in the coming years. Increasingly, companies that ignore support request on social media have a higher dissatisfaction rates than the companies that have well thought out strategies in place.

Facebook and Twitter are the most popular social networking sites. They have both evolved to become more than emergent platforms for marketing and advertising. Increasingly, they are also valid and important channels through which consumers solicit and receive customer service. We also can see that most of the companies are using social media to improve their brand awareness, apart from just promoting their products and services.

As social media users, we all know that the quickest way to get a hold of a company is through their social media profiles, and customers are increasingly expecting timely assistance. If your customers are talking on social media and you’re not ready to listen and help them quickly, you’re not just turning away loyal customers but also hurting your brand. It is no longer a secret that building better relationships with your customers through social networking support can add up to huge rewards when it comes to adding value to your products and retaining loyal support from your customer base.

Here are some ways your business can establish a strong culture of social media customer service at your organisation:

Be where your customers are

Options for social customer service platforms are growing. So, one of the first challenges to provide great customer service over social media is determining where to focus your company’s time and resources.

There might not be one universal platform that fits the needs and requirements of every company. What is the “best” platform for one company might not be so for another. So, before devising a social networking strategy, it is absolutely paramount that you first identify where in the vast world of cyberspace your customers really are.

While marketing efforts may drive traffic to targeted social sites, customer service teams must meet their customers where they’re already socialising. For most companies, Facebook and Twitter will be the primary focus for social care, other platforms such as Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Instagram are blossoming as well.

To figure out where your customers are, you must search where your brand is the most popular. For this, you can use surveys to chart the right direction. But more importantly, you have to understand where your customers spend most of the time online. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Twitter or Facebook are the best fit for your consumers just because those are the platforms that you prefer.

Listen to what your customers have to say

Most companies are already familiar with social media monitoring tools that automate the process of searching for mentions of a brand name, but listening is equally important from a customer service perspective. Most customers assume that your brand is perennially online, so they are looking for direct and succinct response to the questions they post on social networking sites.

Depending on how much volume your brand’s social media pages generate, it’s important to collect and analyse customer activity so that you understand the kind of issues being raised over social media. Smaller companies can collect a week or month’s activities while, larger companies can probably take a pulse over a shorter period of time. Either way, listen to what your customers are talking about and make an effort to respond as quickly and as efficiently as you can.

Adopt new channels and discover new opportunities

Take the time to properly research the marketing and customer relations tools offered by various popular social networks. As these social sites themselves continue to develop, they are offering growing opportunities for real engagement between brands and users. SnapChat, Instagram, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger each provide unique opportunities to access, incentivise, and communicate with customers.

To increase your consumers’ engagement, you can offer discounts, loyalty perks, coupons, deals offerings among others. The adoption of new channels is important as they focus on widening your reach but also enable you to launch new types of services that increase engagement.

Use the right tone of voice

Your tone of voice is of great importance when you are lending in customer support online. This can pose a bit of a challenge in social media, where some platform, such as Twitter, limit you to short messages which make it a lot more difficult to get the tone and nuances right.

The right tone depends on your customer, and the best way to get tone right is to adjust your tone to match the customer.

You should determine beforehand what type of emotions, exclamations and slangs are used by your customers, and which of those you use as a brand. Learning to pick up on your customers’ subtle cues makes delivering service in the right tone of voice much easier, while keeping you on the same page as your consumers.

By Pareshwor Kharel

The writer is the managing director at Kantipurjob.com