When it comes to customer care, social media offers a chance for your brand to shine.
But as with any public forum, it can be risky. A few missteps and you could have the community picking your brand apart, one sarcastic tweet at a time. Here are three quick tips to keep your customers happy.
As social media and customer care continue to evolve, stay on top of the trends for 2017 and register for our WEBINAR on trends and best practice in social media marketing and customer care.
This article was produced in association with Lithium.
Who’s using it?
The proportion of consumers using social media to praise, complain or seek advice from businesses has grown dramatically in recent years – in one survey, 81% of millennials said they use social media to interact with customer service.
This particularly true of the younger generation. In a survey of over 5000 consumers in five countries, 64% of consumers ages 18 – 34 said they view social media as an effective channel for customer service, compared to just 27% of consumers ages 55+.
For brands whose audience falls squarely into this category, like online fashion retailer ASOS, this has led to a social-media-first strategy when it comes to customer service. With a well-manned Twitter account as their primary customer service channel, customers are encouraged to tweet rather than call or email (the contact details of which are not even published on their website).
High expectations, poor results
Those seeking customer service on social media also have higher expectations than they did just three years ago, with 22% now expecting a 10-minute response time on social media from major brands. Meeting those expectations can work wonders for your brand’s image – a recent survey reported that 83.5% of those asked reacted positively when a company responded to them on Twitter.
But a Bain & Company study reports that while 80% of companies believe they deliver superior customer service, only 8% of customers agree. While most acknowledge that customer engagement is a priority, many customer queries are left unanswered. The effect of this can be devastating: 85% of surveyed customers have actively warned friends and family against using a product or service that has provided them with poor customer service.
While businesses are often reluctant risk spending money on social media, studies have shown that effective social care can in fact reduce customer service costs overall.
Three quick tips for strong social media customer service
- Be human. It should be obvious, but in a social media landscape populated with bots, a customer will feel more valued if their concerns, or praise, are met by an individual person and not a robot. Make sure this comes across by mimicing the language of your audience. Try and use colloquial words and phrases and don’t be scared to use things like emojis and hashtags (if it’s appropriate for your brand). Finally, add a name to the end of each reply, so customers know there’s a human behind the keyboard.
- Cut response times. In working hours, David Basulto, CEO of Iographer, suggests a response time of no more than 15 minutes across social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. A quick response and addressing complaints head on won’t eliminate the problem entirely, but it will at least show your customers you are trying to improve. Airlines’ reputation can live and die by their social media strategy, as Tereza Litza looked at in an article last year.
- Maintain a consistent tone of voice. A consistent voice and collaboration between social care and marketing teams will allow your business to avoid awkward and potentially viral mistakes. Similarly, make sure you have the right people to respond to different scenarios – whether that’s the customer service or the marketing team.
Social media customer care is something that can be easily implemented, and still has great potential to deliver incremental results. The most important thing to do is to listen to your customers. Treating your customers well, especially when they are in need, will ensure brand loyalty.
This content has been produced in association with Lithium. Click here to read our collaborative content guidelines. Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ClickZ’s.
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