Today’s always-on social consumer is fundamentally shifting how brands are engaging and caring for their customers.
2016 was the watershed year for social channel engagement, especially over messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and Twitter. And 2017 promises to build on that momentum, delivering innovative solutions that simplify the customer-service process while building brand image and improving bottom lines.
To kick off the year, here are seven steps that enterprises can take to build their social maturity and meet their customers where they are, on the channels they own.
With the prevalence of technology in our daily lives and the number of people using the ever-expanding list of social channels to connect and engage, you’d be surprised to know how many of your customers don’t realize that they can get immediate, personal and human responses from your social care team.
It’s imperative to let them know that you are there, and that they will get a response. It’s now easy to put “Message Us” and “DM Us” buttons on your “Contact Us” pages or in your mobile applications—the best way to drive service volume to effortless social channels that will increase customer value.
Icelandair, Hyatt and Ipsy are just a few examples of global brands making it effortless to reach out to customer care over messaging platforms.
With billions of people using Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and Instagram, investing in the right technology and people to ensure that social is treated as a primary customer-service channel has never been more vital.
Consumers increasingly expect in-the-moment issue resolution on the same platforms where the interaction is taking place, and meeting these demands requires a savvy response team equipped not only with the technology, but also the personality type and communications skills.
Getting your customer-service staff up to speed with the new tools and methods may take some time, but it will deliver serious dividends.
If you are just getting started, it’s a good idea to establish business goals and create a playbook. Many large companies start this way, and finding the right partner with experience in social customer service is key. Here is one example.
Social media is powerful because it enables a direct, authentic connection. Your customers are there because they want a genuine, human response—not corporate, robotic replies on repeat. And they are much less inclined to willingly wait on phone hold for extended periods of time.
Give your agents the freedom to be creative in their responses. Let them be real, engaging, funny, witty and human. Your customers will love you and reward you for it.
Once agents have the training and freedom to be authentic and engaging, make the most of their skills. In any downtime from handling service issues, enable them to find and engage with customers proactively, jumping into general conversations taking place about your brand on Twitter or in an Instagram thread. You’ll increase customer advocacy and find opportunities to prevent certain customer issues before they even happen.
Social has been sitting in a silo for too long, and for too many companies, it still maxes out at shallow engagements, with real issues reserved for traditional channels that are costlier and of lower quality.
Innovation in 2017 is about integrating social channels with your core customer relationship management, enabling you to fully resolve all issues in-channel and ensuring that social agents have the same data and capabilities as for any other contact channel.
The best customer experience is a personalized experience.
Big data analysis is yielding vast amounts of critical customer insights that enable smart prioritization and more efficient processes, cutting down on response times and overall time to resolution.
By connecting data streams, it’s possible to see the full spectrum of customer details, providing for a more personalized experience and maximizing the potential for revenue retention and generation.
Companies that don’t deliver fast, effortless resolution through the mobile and social channels that consumers love are missing out on opportunities to strengthen brand awareness, increase customer retention and drive revenue.
Twitter found that customers are willing to spend up to 20 percent more after receiving a response to a tweet mentioning a brand.
Messaging will be not just the dominant communication channel, but also the dominant business platform of the future—with the benefits only coming to businesses that are shifting to adapt to consumer behavior today. This is a key part of digital transformation, and C-suite buy-in is critical.
The future of customer service will see shifting volume away from expensive phone calls that are inconvenient and often a bad experience for customers and into messaging, which can be faster, requires less effort and is far more efficient for businesses.
There can be no greater strategic direction for consumer-faced brands and organizations than to bolster their social presence with the right tools and company structure—not to mention cultivating a tone that is personable, real and human.
Kristin Shevis is senior vice president of sales and services for social customer engagement platform Conversocial.
Image on homepage courtesy of julief514/iStock.