Social media customer service response has been a hot topic of discussion this week. After all it is critical to a company or brand’s reputation. I was therefore interested to learn that in May, Our Social Times, a UK-based social media agency is hosting a two-day conference on the subject. The conference, which is being held in London, promises to explore the latest strategies to help companies implement a successful social customer relationship management strategy.
Customers are increasingly using social media to make enquiries, post comments or discuss products or services online – and they expect a quick response. Businesses however are apparently failing to live up to expectations. According to HubShout, the average response time for the top 100 US retailers on Facebook is one business day, while on Twitter it is a little over 11 hours.
While many companies offer customer service outside traditional office hours, answering customer queries over the phone or by email consistently, not many are not offering the same level of service through their social media channels. Larger companies and brands should really be offering a social media customer service 24/7.
Social media is evolving as we speak, not only is it being used by companies to promote brands and sell goods worldwide, it is also a platform for customers to express themselves. At the touch of a button a customer can make a judgement on a product or service. What’s more their comments are shared with the rest of that online community. Not many will forget the story of the disgruntled British Airways customer who paid $1,000 to promote a negative tweet about the company, following a lost luggage situation.
Many companies actively encourage customers to contact organisations directly through Twitter, Facebook, Google+, forums, blogs or similar platforms. It’s important to remember that establishing a new social media network for your business is the equivalent of announcing a new offer or service. Customers expect a certain level of care.
Managing online comments and posts across forums and social media is essential for any customer-facing organisation. Research shows that unless customers receive a response within the hour, they will look elsewhere. What’s worse, if organisations do not respond in timely fashion they are potentially at risk of customers escalating negative commentary across multiple channels.
If you are using social media to communicate with your customers, have you considered implementing a social media customer service response strategy? There are processes and systems that you can put into place to help you develop and run effective social media and review responses. It may be as simple as reminding customers of when your social media customer response teams are operating.
An increasing number of organisations are choosing to outsource all, or part of, their online customer service monitoring, especially when it comes to social media. My online reputation management company Igniyte is helping customers to set up social media customer service response platforms. Designed to channel customers through to the organisation’s existing customer service functions, these systems are helping businesses to respond timely and effectively to enquiries.
Monitoring of your social media assets and any related blogs is also important for organisations who deal with customers online. It’s good online reputation management. Monitoring mentions and sentiment about your business across the Internet enables you to see what your customers are saying about your products and service, and when they are communicating. Chances are, if there is an issue with your product or service, it will be talked about online!
We found some interesting facts on Buffer Blog (below) we thought would be useful to share:
- Only 36% of consumers that make customer service enquiries via social media report having their … issue solved quickly and effectively.
- When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company.
- 71% of those who experience positive social care (i.e., a quick and effective brand response) are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19% of customers that do not receive any response.
- 43% of consumers say that a direct response to their questions is most important at a social media site, and 31% expect the social media site to provide direct access to customer service representatives or product experts.
- 86% of social media customers would like or love to hear from a company regarding a complaint.
Social media is a really useful and cost effective tool for organisations looking to promote themselves online. Potentially you can reach a much larger audience than through more traditional methods. It’s also a great communication tool. You can keep people informed daily with details of new products, launches and offers. You can respond to their enquiries directly and, importantly, you can let them know you are dealing with an issue – should one arise.
If you would like to find out more or to discuss a particular issue please feel free to contact me for a confidential discussion.