A decade ago customer service practices typically involved telephone calls and long holding lines. For many customers, the experience of having to dial in to a large phone center was nightmarish enough to sway them against asking for help. Sometimes people would even choose eating the cost of a wrong product or order over listening to a phone center’s holding music for hours on end. Bad customer service costs companies $62 billion each year. Luckily for consumers, those days are (mostly) long gone. Sure, some industries are still holding on to traditional call center structures to anchor their customer service offerings, but most companies are taking advantage of digital media to offer consumers more avenues to find help. In fact, some companies don’t even have telephone numbers listed on their sites; newer startup organizations are choosing email, social media, and on-site messaging as their go-to forms of customer service because of the ease and immediacy these strategies offer.
Social media has forever changed the way brands interact with customers, and vice versa. Channels like Facebook and Twitter give both parties immediate, uninterrupted access to one another. When a customer has a question they no longer have to wait to call between the hours of 9 am – 5 pm on a weekday, instead, they can send out a tweet or DM and expect a full, personalized response in a timely fashion. Social channels have eliminated barriers to entry on both sides, and brands are beginning to realize that this power can not only transform sales initiatives, but customer service goals, as well. Platforms act as a megaphone in which brands can amplify their messages to potentially global audiences, while still offering personalized responses. When one customer asks a specific question on Twitter, every brand’s follower has access to the answer. The ability to answer questions any time of day gives customers more autonomy to explore products and brand services on their terms. Take a brand like, Adventure Bucket List, for example. This travel booking technology aims to connect with small travel and excursion companies to streamline their booking processes. Customers leverage the proprietary platform to more easily connect with potential patrons and entice them to buy their services. Rather than waiting for a rep from Adventure Bucket List to talk them through any platform issues, companies have the power to simply send out a tweet or Facebook messages and receive helpful tips almost immediately.
In addition to utilizing social channels, more companies are also implementing on-site messaging features, like Zendesk to improve the overall customer experience. Through services like Zendesk, companies have the power play a more proactive, versus reactive, role in customer service. Rather than waiting for customers to approach them with potential questions, messaging pop-up features give live agents a direct window to encourage questions or comments. Typically, businesses only hear from 4% of dissatisfied customers, which means that rather than going through hoops to seek solutions, customers most often choose to bail on brands. Employing an intuitive messaging service offers brands the power to combat customers’ “flight” instincts.
Although brands have an array of new resources at their disposal to enhance their customer service, they still face the challenge of communicating these initiatives. Many customers simply assume that brands don’t prioritize their service offerings. Unfortunately, people are more likely to remember their bad service experiences than their positive ones. Emerging brands and companies already have the unenviable challenge of attempting to siphon market share from more established players. And because their organizations are not yet solidified, they also have to find ways to prove that they are a customer-first company before the first transaction. Companies, especially burgeoning startups, must take advantage of social promotion to share their service offerings and success stories. Do you have a live representative managing messaging apps, social profiles, and telephone lines around the clock? If so, then you have to find a way to communicate your dedication to service through paid social media ads and boosted social media posts. Additionally, including customer review, quotes, or testimonials in social ads is also an assured way of demanding new users’ attention spans. Customers tend to trust other customers before they trust new brands, so putting testimonials first in your paid media has the potential to convert skeptics into customers.
Every organization needs to prioritize customer service. In 2017, if customers are dissatisfied they will walk away without thinking twice. Many people have had such awful service experiences that they will assume the worst. To get your brand on the map, and to garner new (and satisfied) customers you have to promote your progressive customer-first initiatives.