It’s 6am on a Tuesday and your alarm goes off for work. You leisurely roll over to grab your phone to stop the bothersome ringing. Yawn, stretch, scroll through your social media feed. Sounds about right? Our daily lives are deeply intertwined with technology; from the moment we wake up, to the time we go to sleep. The average daily time spent on social media is a whopping 116 minutes! That’s almost 2 hours a day! It’s no surprise then, that for brands and businesses, social media has naturally evolved from being a platform for marketing, sharing content and driving sales to also an avenue for meeting customer service needs.
Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at some stats real quick:
- 67% of consumers have engaged a brand’s social media for customer service needs
- 43% of consumers between the ages of 18-29 years old are more likely to use a brand’s social media sites for customer service interactions
- 56% of consumers reported they would never use a company again after a poor customer service experience
- 32% of consumers expect a response on social media within 30 minutes
- Customers who engage with companies over social media spend up to 40% more money with those companies than other customers
Customers regard brands’ social media accounts as actual customer service channels, so it is imperative that brands view themselves in the same light. I’ve quickly come to the discover that when I need a quick resolution to an issue from a business, my best bet is to tweet at them. No phone calls, no emails, not even a physical visit. Those 240 characters always do the trick! Social media is a double edged sword for brands. It’s a public, transparent forum where happy customers go to sing your praises but also the same platform in which irate customers go to unabashedly ‘drag’ you. Consumers are quickly realizing that smart brands who value their image- as they should- are quicker to resolve their complaints and issues when aired on social media.
Utilizing social channels for customer service purposes is no easy feat, but here are some steps in which to manage it effectively:
- Utilize Social Media Listening Tools: There are various social media listening tools out there in which a simple google search will reveal; but my personal favorites are Hootsuite and Google alerts. Hootsuite is one of the most widely used social media monitoring tools which allows you to track and monitor certain words, phrases, terms and accounts across various social media platforms while Google alerts can be considered to be a free alternative which allows you to do the same, just across the web.
- Contain Issues Before They Escalate: Businesses must be proactive in ensuring they utilize other servicing channels such as phones and email to resolve the issues of aggrieved customers before they take to twitter, facebook, instagram or even snapchat to complain. In the event a business isn’t quick enough to rectify issues, damage control is important when customers take to social media to vent and share negative experiences they may have encountered with your brand. You know what they say, prevention is better than cure!
- Respond Quickly!: I like to call us millennials “the microwave generation”. From ordering meals, to hailing cabs and even keeping up to date with the lastest news and gossip, we’re so used to utilizing technology to satisfy our ‘instant everything’ needs. We want what we want when we want it. Chat bots are an effective tool for small business owners who don’t necessarily have the resources to respond live to client inquiries or complaints 24/7, and they can be programmed to respond to frequently asked questions on platforms such as whatsapp, facebook, websites and more. This reduces the need for business owners to be available at all hours of the day.
- Take It Off The Timeline: In the event irate customers go directly to social channels, as a business owner, you must pacify the customer publicly and take the conversation off the timeline as quickly as possible. This is particularly important when the issues are complex or you require the customer’s personal information such as a phone number, date of birth or address to resolve the issue. In situations where the issue is quick and easy to resolve, it’s a great idea to engage the customer politely and efficiently right there on the timeline for all to see! This not only reinforces the trust within existing customers, but also showcases your brand in a great light to potential clients.
It’s no secret that companies don’t want their dirty laundry aired for current and prospective customers to see; and rightfully so! As a business owner, you must position yourself as one step ahead of your client. Ensure your products and services deliver on your brand promise; and in the inevitable event where client dissatisfaction occurs, establish processes and procedures to manage these situations effectively.
Update: This post was originally uploaded on September 2018 on She Leads Africa