Delivering a Better Customer Experience Through Social Media

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Social media has many marketing benefits and traditionally, that’s how companies have been leveraging social networks. Of course, the channel is a valuable tool in creating brand awareness, engagement and a wonderful compliment to your organization’s existing marketing campaigns. However, there’s also a big opportunity for companies to use social media to improve customer experience.

INCREASING INFLUENCE OF THE CUSTOMER

It’s no secret that consumers trust the opinions of family and friends over corporations. But as social interactions between companies and their customers increase, so does the value of positive content from users.

More and more people, especially members of Generation Y (those born between 1977 and 1994, which is the group set to surpass the Baby Boomers in spending power in the next five years) are turning to customer reviews before purchasing a product. Companies will need to become exceptional at providing customer care in order to remain competitive in the market.

WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT VS. WHAT CUSTOMERS GET

Customers aren’t shy about using social channels to share their experience with brands, something that’s often left companies scrambling to provide product support. In fact, a recent Zendesk infographic (“Support Gets Social”) illustrates that when it comes to customer experience via social networks, there’s a huge divide between what customers are expecting, and what they’re actually getting from companies.

Most customers (62%) are looking for product support on social networks, but just one quarter of companies (23%) provide customer care via Facebook and fewer still (12%) offer support through Twitter.

CUSTOMER SUPPORT: A NEW WAVE?

Customers are looking for a more personal form of product support that’s worlds away from traditional scripted responses. Long telephone wait times and endless automated menus will become a thing of the past. Companies like Zappos, recognized for their exceptional customer care and culture alike, are revolutionizing customer experience expectations. In addition, a new wave of tools will help companies to sort and analyze social media comments and make it easy to share the customer story directly with top executives.

The killer combination of an empowered customer care department and the tools to easily classify and analyze customer needs will undoubtedly be two significant factors in the quickly evolving world of customer lifecycle management. As we continue into this decade, those who don’t know how to manage Big Data, or aren’t yet preparing to manage it, will find making sense of it all a daunting proposition. But therein too unfolds the opportunity! With suitable technology, we must find ways to acquire, store, analyze and leverage all data to gain better understanding of our business, customers and the marketplace. Big Data must provide the foundations for new waves of individual and workgroup productivity, business innovation, agile competitiveness and economic growth.

SOCIAL CUSTOMER SERVICE: MAKE THE LEAP!

As social media becomes a mainstream channel for product support, and the need for near-immediate online response times increases, social customer care will likely be outsourced to companies with the technology and staff to handle round-the-clock support. Before signing a contract with any organization, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Can the company provide proactive customer care? Is the company using advanced listening technology to monitor and respond to conversations in social media? And if so, what types of networks are included? You’ll want to ensure that these are the same spaces that your customers are using.
  • Do they have processes in place to empower their agents? Consumers want companies to be able to resolve their problems using social channels. What processes does the company have in place that will allow them to do so while tracking the results?
  • How is the company managing their own reputation? A quick Google search should show you what’s being said about the company online. If there are complaints, how are they handled?

The worlds of social media and customer care are colliding and companies need to be prepared for the inevitable integration of social media into mainstream product support.

How are you evolving your strategy for customer communication? We want to hear what you think. Leave a comment and let us know about your experience with customer support through social media channels either as a provider of service or as a receiver of service.

Republished with author’s permission from original post.

Brent Drewry
Brent has over 20 years of experience in the technology and internet sectors, most recently as COO of Moxy Media, a high growth Internet media company. Over a 2-year period there, he expanded the organization to 300 employees, while tripling profit, culminating in the sale of the company. Prior to that, he spent 14 years with GE Capital and Sun Micro systems, in senior sales and management roles. He is a volunteer member of the Board of Directors of Hospice Wellington, a palliative care organization.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great post Brent! Social media is no longer beneficial just for marketing, it is now equally as important for customer service. It is vital for companies to take this into account sooner rather than later, before a build up of ignored social customer service queries becomes detrimental to the their reputation. Conversocial is a social customer service management platform focused on helping companies deliver great customer service through social channels, as they would with traditional channels.

    We've seen some great examples of companies doing social customer service the right way, some of whom have only recently implemented a social customer service strategy. For example, Hertz – who uses Conversocial to help manage their social customer service – have been recognised for their use of Twitter for customer service (http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/12588.aspx). Another one of Conversocial's clients who have been recognised numerous times for their effective social customer service is Tesco, (read more here: http://bit.ly/OSWD7j). When it comes to social media, marketing and customer care should be able to work side by side to ensure reputation management as well as great customer experience.

  2. Hi Rachel,

    Thank you for the comment and real world examples. It sounds like Conversocial is doing a phenomenal job of helping large clients manage social effectively.

    Brent

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