Customer Service — whether positive or negative, will have a long-term impact on a consumer’s buying decisions. In addition to the traditional issue reporting medium such as phone calls and emails, consumers are now widely shifting towards using social media as a platform to reach out to brands and seek assistance. The role of customer service through social media platforms has become increasingly important, particularly in B2C industries with large consumer base.
Customers go to social media to complain mostly when a company fails to assist them through conventional platforms and at this point, they expect is a quick response. According to the survey Q2 2016 Sprout Social Index, 90 percent of consumers have used social media in some way to communicate with a brand. Not surprisingly, over one-third of them (34.5 percent) said they preferred to connect to the brands using social media rather than traditional platforms. About 71% of consumers who have experienced a good social media service with a brand are highly likely to be a promoter of the brand, says Ambassador. Not only this enforces a positive brand image from great social customer service, but also helps build brand loyalty among its consumers.
Surfing through the replies of various brands’ Twitter accounts helped us notice that there are a few things in common with the leaders of the platform, the brands that people love interacting with.
1. They respond fast
For a brand, it is absolutely essential to respond to every message/post/tweet from the customer. Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, reported based on a survey that 42% of consumers expect a response within 60 minutes of posting a message/tweet and surprisingly more than 32% expect a response within thirty minutes. An instant response to consumer queries is the step one towards achieving great social media customer service. Brands like Starbucks and Jetblue Airways have set high benchmarks with their quick response and faster way of addressing customer complaints received through social media. Poor responsiveness is the #1 issue that makes customers leave a brand. When experiencing poor service in terms of responsiveness, 56% of consumers reported that they never used any product of that brand again. Being highly responsive not only helps provide good service to the customer but can boost sales under the right context!
2. They handle negative comments like a pro!
Brands that aim to provide excellent social media customer service do not defend them against a negative comment. In fact, they apologize for the inconvenience caused; listen to the customer on what went wrong. They show empathy and send out the right message to the customers that they care for them.
3. They know where their customers are
One of the major mistakes companies make is with choosing the right platform for their social media customer service. For most of the modern day companies, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram have been the focus — the places where they drive customer engagement. This might not go well with a few brands, which makes it essential for the brand to know where their consumers are. Otherwise, this can lead to brands neglecting feedback and complaints, which can be detrimental to the brand’s image.
4. They know when to take an issue offline
When a customer posts a complaint on social media, they want it to be addressed right there. Asking the customer to follow up on the issue through email or phone call might be seen as a lack of respect to the customer. A brand with excellent customer service would publicly acknowledge the complaint and share service steps. They further follow up on the issue using the same social media platform until it is resolved.
5. They keep the tone conversational
Know your audience and interact accordingly. When on social media, most customers would prefer the nature of communication to be conversational, rather than being completely formal. A proven strategy is to address the consumer by their first name. A brand’s ability to judge the severity of the complaint based on the tone of the customer would go a long way in deciding the best tone to interact with them — one should know when to get too friendly and when to keep it to the point. Amazon and Netflix seem to have nailed this area and they are arguably the best when it comes to customizing the communication for their consumers.
A survey conducted by Edison Research revealed that 47% of the survey takers agreed that Facebook had a great impact on their purchase behaviour. Delivering great social media customer service leads to increased customer engagement with the brand, which leads to more business and more loyal customers.
Here’s to happy customers!