Many brands have social strategies to reach out to customers to engage them about a product or service, but it’s important to go above and beyond and use social media as a point of call for customer service.
Social listening is the process of monitoring and engaging with your brand’s presence on social media. If you are properly using social listening tools, you are engaging in the conversation and gaining valuable insights similar to those through a voice of the customer programme. Social listening shows you how people are talking about your brand online even when they don’t mention you directly.
Benefits of social listening
1. Real-time engagement
With social media listening, you can engage with customers as soon as they share something which includes your brand name. People post images or tweets as they interact with your brand, so social media can be the most real-time tool for listening to your customers.
To give optimal customer support, you should engage with the customer directly via the channel they selected as soon as you see it. You may need to redirect it to someone on your customer care team to best serve the customer’s need, but if you are using the proper listening tools, you can do this with the same immediacy as you would any other channel (email, chat, etc.).
2. Large audience
You are probably already collecting customer feedback through surveys but in most cases, companies only send out surveys to some of their customer bases and response rates aren’t always the best. By 2021, it is estimated that over 3 billion people will be using social media channels. Social listening can be a great way to reach customers who may not be giving you feedback when you ask for it. While your surveys are incredibly important for taking a pulse on the state of CX in your business, social media can provide you with added value and content to analyse.
3. Competitor analysis
With social listening, you are not only able to track your own brand mentions, but you can track hashtags and buzzwords relevant to your industry so you can see what is being said about your competitors. You can see the things that are driving brand loyalty and customer satisfaction online for your competitors so you can replicate their processes or see where they are faltering so you can learn from their mistakes.
You should also be able to identify influencers who talk about things relevant to your business on social networks and subsequently target your social media marketing campaigns to be relevant to the issues that interest those individuals and their followers the most.
Adopting social listening as part of your CX programme
1. Close-the-loop on promoters, passives and detractors
You should be using social channels to close the loop on customer feedback the way you would with a survey. Customers are tagging you in posts so that your company will see the post and so that their followers can engage with their content as well. If a post is positive, thank them for their feedback. If it’s a query, answer their question or direct them to the information they are looking for. And for customer complaints, it can be best to engage with customers via direct message for negative feedback, rather than in front of the court of public opinion.
People tend to use social media as a space to complain about products or services more than support so it might seem to be unbalanced with an excess of negative engagement, but you should be using social media as a tool to aid with customer retention. This is why it is important to reach out to unhappy customers promptly to address their issues or concerns.
2. Engage your employees
Just as it is important to share feedback from surveys with your teams, you should share what people are saying about them on social media too. If a customer tweets about a great (or horrible) experience after phoning your call centre you should regularly share this information with your team for key learning or insights. As frustrating as it can be, a lot of people don’t bother to respond to requests for feedback, so you might find your happiest or least satisfied customers on social media rather than through your NPS survey.
If the amount of social engagement requires it, you should also have a team dedicated to responding to customers online. For some companies, these individuals serve a marketing role, but it can be beneficial to have those with a contact centre background handling customers’ social queries. Those who really understand your customer service strategy and how to help customers with problems via chat, email or phone can also be best equipped to engage with customers over social media. This is the path taken by airlines, for example, who most frequently have customers reaching out to them via Twitter or Facebook rather than going through the airlines’ own tools.
3. Use social media and your VoC solution in tandem
A big mistake would be to run your social listening and voice of the customer solutions separately from each other. If two different teams are running these programmes you may be giving divergent messages to customers which can be confusing and disorganised. To reduce silos and increase consistency, these should be handled as a joint endeavour so you can ultimately gain and analyse actionable insights from both listening methods.
An added bonus is to direct your happy customers to advocate for your brand on social media. Ask the customers who give you really great feedback to share their feedback on review sites or their social media channels. This is a form of consumer-generated content that can really help your brand image and balance out the negative feedback that is organically posted online. At CX Index this is done through our Social Advocate tool. The tool enables you to better engage with your customers to drive authentic positive content from customer feedback onto the popular review and social media channels. It has an incredibly strong track record of enhancing online reputation in both the quality and quantity of reviews.