The Social Customer Service Era
How did we get to this point?
I mean, why do people prefer online independent reviews rather than brands ads?
The harsh truth is that…
Advertising is no longer credible
Wait a moment, don’t shoot the piano player!
Advertising is essential to promote your products and services, but it is no longer credible; it’s just not enough to convert prospects into customers. That’s due to two main reasons:
- We suffer a daily information overload on TV, radio and the web. People are tired of listening to brands yelling “buy now!”, “special offer” or “our service is the best”. There are just too many and worse, many tend to be bravado and empty promises.
- Social media broke the rules. Nowadays purchase decisions are influenced by strangers. So people do not only exchange their views with family, friends or colleagues, but also reading blogs, online forums and social interactions.
Therefore you have to do an extra effort if you want to get new customers and retain your current ones: you have to gain and consolidate their trust.
Like it or not, trust is THE pain point for many companies.
Use social customer service to fill the gap of trust
That’s one of the most important aspects in delivering excellent customer service. Now more then ever, it plays a crucial role in the social era we’re living, where more and more people want to interact directly with brands via social networks.
That’s a global irreversible trend. In fact, recent stats show that internet users have on average 5 social media accounts. This implies a strong demand by consumers to interact with brands via this new channel.
By delivering effective customer service via social networks you will also be able to build trust towards either your customers and prospects. Actually, open and transparent behavior will reassure potential customers and confirm that your promises (advertising) were genuine: you are indeed a trustworthy and reliable company.
A clear and remarkable ROI
Unlike social media, whose ROI is still in debate, social customer service can be easily identified and linked to clear KPIs and SLAs.
The infographic below, taken from Aberdeen Group’s 2014 report, shows an impressive ROI – especially for productivity, contract and cross-selling revenues.
Image credit – Aberdeen Group
Leverage the power of online conversations
Each social interaction (i.e. any tweet or Facebook message) with your customers is public. That’s the main revolution of online conversations which any company should consider. This implies risks but also new opportunities for brands,
In fact as your brand speaks to a single person, you convey a message to all those who are observing and judging your behavior with your customers. Some of them are current customers, others are just lurkers, but remember: each lurker is a potential customer!
People will base their judgement judge on “3 HOWs” which you can also use to improve the overall quality of your social customer service:
- How quick you respond to your customers queries –> monitor your current “first response rate” and use it as one of your SLA goals.
- How effective you are –> monitor and track the number of interactions needed to close any social interaction (i.e. from the first contact till meeting customers expectations).
- How willing you are to fix their problems –> track any complaint or negative feedback received after giving a first answer/information which should have been fully satisfactionary.
Ultimately, be aware of this new conversational scenario to quickly adapt your communication strategy and procedures accordingly.
Use your competitive advantage (before it’s too late)
It’s 2015. Many companies are willing to adopt social customer service. Nevertheless, most of them are not ready yet. That’s why you should anticipate them, in order to become one of the pioneers.
This would mean a competitive advantage since customers see pioneers as innovators, even after some years of their discoveries.
Remember though, if you don’t do it today some of your competitors will do it tomorrow.
Maintain focus on customer service
Don’t confuse the tools (social networks) with your ultimate goal, which is delivering exceptional customer service.
Conversely, use social networks to consolidate and amplify trust with customers and prospects and make sure to do it sensibly because people want real human interactions.
In order to do so, commit your brand to simple and clear key principles.
- Is your company ready to embrace social customer service?
- What’s your next goal to improve overall customer experience?
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
Image attribution: Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_convisum‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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