Customer Experience News & Trends

Like an Oscar selfie: Social media can take customer service to new heights

You may never cause the record-breaking re-tweets Ellen DeGeneres did at the Oscars. But if you handle Twitter and other social media well, your customer service will shine like the stars in the now-famous selfie. 

Look at those stars: They look happy, spontaneous, eager and ready to take on anything — even the disappointment of losing. (For the record, just one of the five nominees in the impromptu photo won an Oscar that night.)

Isn’t that what your customer service team is — happy, eager and ready to take on anything customers throw their way? Not to mention, they’re brand advocates, master problem-solvers and loyalty-makers.

You have more reason than ever to get more aggressive with social media service. Customers who engage with companies over social media are more loyal and spend up to 40% more on those companies’ products and services than other customers, a Bain & Co. study found.

Use your mirror effectively

“Social media is a mirror,” says Ragy Thomas, Founder and CEO of Sprinklr, a cloud software provider that helps companies manage their social customer service experience. “You can be good at responding to social media interactions. But it will still be a matter of how good your business is. If your customer service is good, it will be reflected in social media. If it’s not, it will be amplified in social media.”

In pop culture, social media may be mostly a proactive, self-promoting communication endeavor. DeGeneres is solid proof of that. Her Oscar-initiated selfie had 779,295 retweets about an half hour after it was shot — a new record previously held by President Obama, who hugged his wife and tweeted an image titled “Four more years.” What’s more, the traffic caused Twitter to temporarily crash before the end of the ceremony when the figure stood at 2,070,132. Last told, the star-studded photo was re-tweeted almost 2.2 million times.

In the business world, you can’t expect that kind of traction, except for in the rarest of circumstances. Unfortunately, the negative experiences generate more interest. Case in point: the YouTube saga of “United Breaks Guitars” — one of the first viral company-damaging social media posts, which has 13.8 million views.

So how do you create more Ellen DeGeneres and fewer (or no) United moments? Take social media customer service just as seriously as you do your other long-standing channels, according to experts at Freshdesk.

“If you want to be taken seriously, you will simply need to be more social with your customer support,” Freshdesk experts say. “Failure to adapt likely means that you would run out of business.”

A hefty threat, perhaps, but a growing reality even in the business world.

So use these best practices to effectively kick off your social media service plan – or fold them to your existing plan to see more positive results:

Monitor your channels

Customer experience tech“You must know what’s going on,” says Thomas.

Listening to what’s going on in reference to your products, company, customer service and customer experience is the first step toward building a social presence — and the foundation for maintaining a strong, interactive presence.

You can’t address what you don’t know is going on.

Once you’re listening, start flagging social media concerns just like you would concerns presented in other channels.

“You want to find out what the real problem is so the first thing you do is take care of the problem,” says Thomas. “Don’t handle the tweet. Handle the problem.”

Once you’ve resolved the root cause of the problem, the customer will likely use the same channel to let everyone know about the attention you gave to their concern and the positive solution.

Keep it positive

Social customer service can generate significant goodwill overnight, according to the experts at Freshdesk. Considering the Oscar photo, that shouldn’t be a surprise. The best way is to solve issues right there on customers’ chosen social media platforms so it turns into positive feedback.

What does that require?

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