Paolo Fabrizio
November 6, 2016

Social Customer Service Is Going Private – Are You?

Private social customer service messaging

If you’re a market leader, your main focus is to stay ahead from your competitors. When you find yourself in such a privileged position you also benefit from another great advantage: the way is clear in front of you, so it’s easier taking the right directions at the right time. Conversely, when you’re a follower, you have to watch behind you and – at the same time – in front of you. Consequently, your view is not as clear and that may affect your next choices.

As for Social Customer Service, this competitive scenario is even harder, since technological tools and customer habits are constantly changing…  

Private messages have overcome public ones

One of the scariest things for those brands still reluctant to embrace social care, is that most of the conversations taking place over Facebook and Twitter are public. Well, that used to be entirely true but it’s now becoming only half-true. In fact while consumers still prefer to publicly vent their frustrations or to speak out loud their best customer experiences, SOMETHING HAS CHANGED when it comes just to asking brands simple QUESTIONS.

As Social Bakers recently stated, the number of private messages being sent to brands has exceeded the public ones (see recent Facebook stats below)

Facebook private messages

Credit Image: SocialBakers

The good news? This trend offers new opportunities for brands needing to embrace Social Customer Service. In short:

  • Start integrating social channels more easily by removing the stereotype of social = public conversations. Especially at the very beginning of this new journey, take ‘baby steps’. Introduce small changes, share results, then consolidate mutual benefits with other departments. Bear in mind that Social Customer Service used to be a step-by-step process even for brands that now have become very successful. [RELATED]: Digging into KLM’s Social Customer Service success story
  • Boost efficiency and reduce cost per interaction. According to a McKinsey study, social interactions cost 1/6 than call-centre. Moreover, considering the same lapse of time, brands are able to handle much many interactions over social networks than over the phone.[RELATED]: 20 Social Customer Service stats to show your boss.
  • Integrate AI and bots to increase customer satisfaction whilst reducing response times. Maybe as a customer you’ve already interacted with a bot without realizing that it was not a human customer assistant. [RELATED]: The pros and cons of chatbots for customer service


Last call for Twitter?

In this ever changing scenario. Twitter is struggling to recover the gap with Facebook. In fact they’ve just introduced two new features to enhance conversations with brands via DM. In a nutshell:

Evernote Twitter1. Welcome messages: brands are enabled to set up a customized message to welcome their customers whenever they reach them via Direct Message (DM) 
2. Quick replies: customers are provided with a multiple-choice menu to reply

See example on the right (credit image TechCrunch / Evernote) 

Twitter’s goal is clear: help brands reduce response time as well as the overall number of interactions needed to close each case. In fact, TIME and EFFICIENCY represent two important pillars of Social Customer Service KPIs. 

While this move is smart, it comes late. Consequently my question: Is it too late for Twitter to remain an attractive customer service channel for brands?

Social Customer Service may be the last call for Twitter before competition gates will get closed.Click To Tweet

Over to you

As technology evolves, consumer behavior changes faster and faster. In this scenario, it is paramount for brands to stay abreast by constantly monitoring customers interactions to intercept their expectations, as well as benchmarking their customer support competitors across social channels.

As competition is harsh, setting up proper goals is a must. So WHAT ARE YOURS?

  • Delivering outstanding customer service to acquire and retain customers?
  • Increasing efficiency (i.e. number of interactions handled)?
  • Reducing average cost per interaction?


I’d love to read your reply in the comments below.

Have nice social conversations (whether private or public!).


Image: Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan