6 trends in online customer service


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In recent years, social media customer service has become one of the most important service points of organisations in no time. Many organizations in the UK provide high quality customer service on social media and the market is not standing still. More and more companies are using professional social media management tools and continue to develop their service level. Social media customer service and social media management is gaining status and technology helps us to provide even better service. Which trends are awaiting us in 2019?

Social media customer service will take centre stage in organizations

Social media customer service is becoming less and less a separate part within organizations. The service department is the center of an organization. As it is the department that has its ears and eyes on the market, it provides valuable input for sales, marketing, spokespersons and (product) development. Short lines are therefore essential.

Social customer service is no longer just about putting out fires and responding to questions. It is the place where customers pillory the structure and processes of your organization. By including the customer feedback that your company receives on social media for future developments and improvements, you are able to meet customer expectations and will continue to grow.

Align tone of voice and core values

Organizations find it increasingly important to have good social media guidelines for their customer service.

“Because the social media department is a pivotal part within organisation, social media guidelines are becoming increasingly important. Agents of the social customer care team re not only the ears and eyes of the organisation, but also the voice,” says Social Media Consultant Marcel Vergonet.

To define the tone of voice within your social media policy you take the core values of your organisation as a starting point. The core values should be reflected in the way your customer service team communicates online. If the adjectives “young” and “fresh” are part of your core values, the reply ‘apologies for the inconvenience’ might be too old-fashioned. In this case, it would be necessary to find a new, better fitting expression.

“Social media management is becoming more and more an operational part of the business and less a marketing part. Years ago it had a public character and was therefore handled by marketing & communication. Nowadays communication on social media is often 1-on-1 with the customer. Marketing has less and less to add to social media management and thus transfers it to the customer service operation”, says Alexander de Ruiter, CEO of OBI4wan.

Customer experience increasingly important; CRM for personalized service

We hear it everywhere: service must has to become more personal. In times when customer contact is fleeting and often digital, it is important to find a way to remain as personal as possible. Using a good CRM system enables you to take the extra step for your customer. We see an example at Auping, who approaches the customer personally by knowing what they have been in contact with before.

“Customer relations make the difference nowadays. This requires good connections, so that every social media customer service agent knows what has been discussed with the customer before. Or even what was discussed by telephone. Make sure customers have the feeling that they are not a number, but that you really know them..”

In the past, social media customer care was often a stand-alone team and a stand-alone system. Alexander de Ruiter adds: “We now see the trend that you need the 360 degree customer view and that the system is integrated with CRM and routing systems. The need for this is experienced by organizations and we already see it in practice. Yet this is still very much in its infancy and is far from mature.”

Using data as a predictor

Data analysis is becoming an increasingly important part of the social media customer service department. Virtually all social media management tools are designed to also run good reports on the performance of the customer service team. Yet there are more opportunities within this reporting possibility. Good reports and real-time alerts ensure that an organisation is quickly informed of changes, such as an explosive increase in volume.

Data let’s you predict how busy it can become in the social media customer service department and helps you plan your staffing accordingly. This enables you to better reach your KPIs, such as response time or customer satisfaction. A faster handling or solution leads to higher customer satisfaction.

“Measuring customer satisfaction in the channels where your customers are is a must. With regards to the omnichannel focus, that a lot of companies are busy with but have not fully implemented yet, it is also necessary to follow an omnichannel approach when it comes to measuring customer satisfaction.” – Alexander de Ruiter

Phasing out e-mail high on the wish list

E-mail is not only an expensive customer contact channel, it also delivers the lowest Customer Effort Score. For these reasons many organizations try to phase out expensive customer contact channels and to do more channel control from within the organization. The customer’s expectations are managed even before the customer contacts an organization. An example is a contact page, where the expected response time per channel is indicated. This method ‘discourages’ the customer from choosing e-mail as the contact channel when better and faster channels, such as WhatsApp, are offered.

Besides phasing out certain channels, we also see integration between different channels. An example of this is in-app messaging, where an organization is able to provide service directly from the app used by the customer.

Benefitting from customer satisfaction: celebrate successes!

Customer service on social media has undergone several changes in recent years. Over the years, complaint-oriented customer service has become increasingly loose and funny conversations have been the focus of attention for some time. Today, we are back at putting adequate service first. Everything you give attention to grows. And therefore also the number of complaints at the moment you openly ‘reward’ them as an organisation grows.

“Social media customer service teams are too little focussed on compliments. Let your customer know how happy you are with his feedback and give him a little gift. Rewarding compliments instead of complaints. If you do this, then the number of compliments will grow. There is a lot of potential for companies in 2019”, according to Marcel.

Customer service employees enjoy their work, customer satisfaction increases and you are able to turn customers into brand ambassadors. Did this approach significantly contribute to generic higher customer satisfaction? No. it is important to note that the basis of your service must be good. Only then, it makes sense to take the extra step. When customers don’t feel heard and helped, it can be counterproductive to focus on compliments.

Linsey Jepma
As a content marketeer, I'm daily occupied with the latest developments in the field of online customer service, chatbots, social media monitoring, reputation management and data insights. I'm always looking for interesting stories. Let's get in touch!


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