The emergence of social media- also viewed as a key element of web 2.0, has been envisaged to lead to an effective collaboration and responsive relationship between businesses and customers. It is thought to be a good avenue where businesses could be closer to their customers- by responding to queries and directing to appropriate solutions. According to Social CRM expert and the author of the bestseller, ‘CRM at the speed of light,’ Paul Greenburg, “Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, wikis and social networking sites are changing the way companies interact with their customers and putting the customer experience at center stage.” He also opined that: “We are now living in the era of the social customer: The traditional customer is the one we all were as recently as a decade ago. We bought products and services and based our decisions a great deal on utility and price. We communicated with the companies we are dealing with by letter, phone call, and occasional email, lf they had the facility to do that.” The search CRM site also expressed that, Gartner recommends companies aiming to enhance their customer experience get started with web 2.0 as soon as possible.
Currently most companies are employing some sort of a web 2.0 strategy like customer review sites, social media pages and user-powered forums. This indicates good times for the relationship between the customer and the company but there are certain attitudes that depict an anti-social corporate strategy- which undermines the whole essence of Web 2.0.
Anti-Social attitudes that stifle Web 2.0
Delay in responding to customers on social media: In a research conducted by social brakers, it was discovered that there is a 10% delay for brands to answering customer questions when compared to previous quarter. The report indicates that brands in finance are more adept to social customer service, followed by airline and telecom industries. Delaying to respond to a customer’s question on any online forum or social media platform does affect brand image and reputation. What is worse is failing to apologize for the delay in responding to these questions. It is an anti-social attitude that affects any company’s web 2.0 customer strategy.
No Reply: The same study conducted by social brakers revealed that about 38% of the questions asked on twitter were not answered by brands. Jonathan Bright of Southerly couldn’t have put it any better when he stated that: “Companies frequently forget that social media is all about engagement- having and maintaining a conversation, listening and participating. Even when handling negative comments on social media, the best practice is to engage by publicly asking to resolve the situation via private message.” Evolve24- a Maritz Research company, discovered that approximately 70% of customer service complaints made on Twitter go unanswered. The study stretches as far back as 2011- although some social media analysts believe the percentage has not changed much.
Automation in place of the human feel: Jonathan Bright argues that the worst thing any online business could attempt is striving to automate being human. He further added that the auto-reply on Twitter is a big no-no. There has to be that human and personalized feel on social media outlet and forums. Nothing puts me off like a replicated message to multiple and varying queries. Like a copy and paste scenario- this shows customers you can’t be bothered one bit. There has to be that customized feeling- individually responding to questions in an engaging and collaborative manner. Example, a customer posting a question regarding the release date of a product and you respond by providing them with the details and going over and beyond to present them with the product specification or some extra information. You then end by informing them not to hesitate if they have further questions. This shows a willingness to provide them with great service and that you find it a great pleasure to respond to their enquiries.
Bianca Buckridee, Vice president of social media operations for JP Morgan Chase, a great believer of a personalized and human-faced social customer service strategy, talked about the unique nature of the bank’s twitter handle. A twitter page that enables customers to see the individuals with whom they are talking with- thereby, restoring a great deal of intimacy, comfort, value and assurance. She sums this all up by stating that: “We have customers returning to the channel saying: “Hey, let me know when Theo gets in,’ or ‘I want to talk to Danni; she knows Where I’m at and what I’m going through.'”
Web 2.0 powered customer care would be crucial for most businesses in this competitive age- deploying a dynamic and social strategy to engage and collaborate with customers is vital. As a company, you become anti-social in a social media centered environment, by ignoring questions from your customers, delaying responses and automating the engagement process. Remember, customers are individuals and they want to be treated as such. So, put on your friendly attire and engage with them in a unique and collaborative manner.