Customer Experience News & Trends

Time to get serious about social media service

How serious should you be about social media customer service? Consider these numbers and the answer should be easy.

According to separate research from J.D. Power and Associates and Ipsos:

  • 67% of customers have used social media for service
  • Customers under 35 years of age spend four hours a day on social media (That’s half of a work day!)
  • 17% of people over 55 prefer social media for service more than the telephone (It’s not just Millennials!), and
  • 87% of customers who have good experiences getting help from companies via social media are more likely to buy again.

Customers are serious about getting service through social media — and companies need to heed their requests for great social service even more this year.

Focus on fast, expert help

“If your customers want service and you’re pushing discount coupons out to them while ignoring their attempts to connect with you, you’re going to end up with dissatisfied customers,” says Jacqueline Anderson, director of social media and text analytics at J.D. Power and Associates.

Nearly every organization touts a Facebook page and/or Twitter handle. But many aren’t using them as effective customer service tools.

The first critical step to better social service is to be more responsive. Almost three-quarters of customers who make a complaint on Twitter expect a response in less than hour. Yet, Twitter’s data shows 40% of customer tweets go unanswered.

If you don’t have the resources to respond to customers quickly and expertly, it’s almost better not to offer social media service.

For organizations that want to get social service right, here are three proven ways to manage it:

1. Develop guidelines

Although you can’t predict what will show up in social media, you can anticipate much of what will come in. Develop guidelines for how to react to those queries.

An example to follow: A wireless carrier looked at and responded to some customers’ social media complaints about poor service. From there, employees flagged other customers at risk of experiencing the same service issue. Then they reached out to warn those customers and resolve issues. That helped them cut churn by 50%, according to business leaders.

2. Make the connection

Once you’re delivering good social media service, you can use it to create even better experiences by handling the feedback effectively. Every piece of information that comes through social media won’t be full of valuable insight. Some of it is littered with haters and artificial lovers of your organization, who may not even be customers.

The key is to be able to pull meaningful feedback from customers. The problem is linking social media handles to your customers’ names or account numbers. But some companies have been able to achieve it.

Examples: A telecommunications company sends surveys following social media exchanges that include an opt-in to match Twitter handles with account numbers. A hotel chain outright asks customers to direct message their account number so the company can link the social handle in its CRM system. Another idea: Offer small incentives to encourage customers to help you link their social media names with their accounts.

3. Use the right information

Social media is a monster of information. You could gather information, feedback and data around the clock. But that doesn’t make everything that comes through social media valuable to the customer experience.

Stay focused on the numbers or qualities that matter most — for instance: response time, customer satisfaction, product quality, service reliability and/or staff expertise.

One way: Many companies use tracking systems to create and identify keywords related to their business that customers use in social media. Once those words are used, reps can tailor interactions, follow up and learn from exchanges at key moments.

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  • I very much agree on this write up about taking social media seriously. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook has been an avenue of resolving customer service for our department and accounts for three straight years.