Consumers Expect More From Social Customer Service (Report)

It's time for brands to get socially mature and meet consumers where they are.

Despite the evidence that social is not the best way to get customer service, consumers still turn to social channels to communicate with brands. However, the time of dismissing their concerns and directing them to a phone number has passed. According to a new report, from Conversocial, it’s time for businesses to be proactive and meet customers where they are.

The report notes that customer expectations have changed in recent years:

From 2012 to 2014, a sharp shift in expectations, driven by customers’ public venting sessions, helped brands understand the criticality of engagement on customers’ channel of choice, on their terms. Any conversation falling short of an “in-the-moment” resolution has become obsolete and unacceptable.

When brands fail to respond fast enough, they risk being called out by customers, which can damaging the overall brand reputation. In this, the year of customer experience, brands need to develop integrated customer-service strategies and be prepared to meet customers whenever they reach out.

In short, brands need to become “socially mature.” Socially mature brands realize the value of providing customer service across all channels, particularly when it comes to mobile-first experiences. Additionally, brands should focus on letting customer service drive their social initiatives rather than marketing, and they should have dedicated customer-care solutions, whether those solutions are teams or software.

Personalized responses that don’t feel mechanical, collaboration with other departments in pursuit of customer service, resolving issues within a single social channel and involving executives in social networks are other traits of successful socially mature brands.

The report suggests several key features to consider when looking into social customer-service tools, including:

  • Context: Cross platform logs will make each interaction smoother.
  • Prioritization: “Higher-risk” issues need to be surfaced quickly.
  • Real-time analytics: Gaining insight into trends over time could inform future decisions.
  • Integration: Allow all information to come together for a complete picture of a customer.
  • Proactive customer service: Simply responding to @mentions.

Customer service shouldn’t be an afterthought: It needs to be the primary thing you offer. Existing and potential customers reach out to brands online first on a regular basis. Businesses that are unprepared to respond in a genuine way that achieves results for the customer could find themselves left behind as other brands do it better.

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