Paolo Fabrizio
September 24, 2015

Why Social Customer Service is a sliding door

Sliding door

Mixed feelings.

These are the first words in many people’s mind when it comes to Social Customer Service; a bittersweet cocktail you’ve long awaited for which basically left you a bit disappointed.

So, before you ask me the famous 3-letter question [WHY?] here’s my answer: customers know better social media than most companies do. They want to get responses over social, but many companies are not ready yet (if not afraid).

User experience is part of customer experience but…

The first touchpoint that customers have with a company is crucial since their first impressions and feelings will affect their following actions, i.e whether they want to know more about that company’s products/service or just avoid it forever. Experiences such as dealing with a kind or rude representative on the phone, as well as logging to a user-friendly or complicated website, are ‘sliding doors’: IN or OUT.

That should be obvious in 2015 but…it’s not! Even big brands, such as financial companies in modern markets, still underrate the importance and consequences. Rub your eyes and watch this unbelievable stat below:

Only 50.1% of general insurance companies’ websites in Europe are responsive – CP Consulting Solutions

[817 websites of general insurance companies operating in Europe have been surveyed in this report but only 409 have implemented mobile-responsive technologies]

Now, why in the world should a customer have a good experience on desktop and a bad one on mobile?

Probably the harsh truth is that many companies do not realize yet that they’re losing customers due to bad online customer experiences.

Customers demand fast resolutions over social

Conversely, customers know exactly what they want and how they want it. As most people lack the time for themselves and their families, they move towards brands which enable them to save it. For sure.

Conversocial SCS Trust Index

Image Credit: Conversocial – The 2015 Social Customer Service Trust Index

What is certain is that the demand for Social Customer Service is rising and customer behavior reflect this trend. In particular, the impact on business results deriving from adopting it/not adopting it is crystal clear:

  • A study by Bain&Company shows that when companies provide good customer service via social media, they enjoy a 20-40% sales increase.
  • According to a Gartner study, companies who do not provide customer support at all on social media, have a 15% higher churn rate than companies who do.
  • SocialBakers reported that in 2014, brands were asked nearly 22 million questions on Facebook and Twitter combined.

So, the message is loud and clear…

Make your brand always accessible

It’s in your interest to provide each potential customer with easy access to all relevant information, regardless the channel they use:

  • FAQ page on your Company website → add and constantly update answers
  • CHAT → answer to customer queries in real time (max 3 min); otherwise he/she will leave your website
  • COMPANY BLOG → create and promote valuable content that answers to customer’s needs building trust and authority day by day with your audience
  • PHONE → maintain focus on efficiency. Avoid long waiting queues on the phone (which would frustrate any customer)
  • SOCIAL NETWORKS → Be organized. If your staff is not properly trained or simply the number of staff is not enough, do not use social networks. Customers have the highest expectations when using them!

The above applies either for brands and entrepreneurs (personal brands).

To give you an example of it, last week I spoke at the New Media Europe conference in Manchester, UK, along with great speakers such as Cliff Ravenscraft, Chris Ducker and Amy Schimittauer (just to name a few). My personal experience before, during and after the event was consistently positive: easy access to all information I’d asked for, fast responses to my queries and all staff focused on customer satisfaction and kind.

Likewise, brands must focus equally on pre-sales / sales / post-sales phases to consistently satisfy customer’s needs.

Your turn

Accessibility  + empathy + transparency = TRUST

I’ve always believed in the above formula and especially now as we are living in the customer era. As for any kind of business, trust is the most valuable currency since it takes time and commitment to achieve it, but a few minutes to depreciate it.

  • What is your experience with social customer experience so far?
  • What do you expect to get better from social channels rather than the traditional ones?

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


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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