The number of people engaging in online conversations with brands is increasing year-on-year. Almost 50% of all social media users have used social customer service, including roughly a third of those over 65.
Unfortunately, the results so far leave a lot to be desired. Only 36% of consumers that make a customer service enquiry via social media report having their issue solved quickly and effectively.
This new infographic from Sentiment (below) identifies 10 steps that brands should take to ensure that they get it right:
1. Select the right channels
Before diving in and responding, take some time to listen. Find out what your customers are saying and where they’re saying it. You can then decide what channels you should focus and whether you have the resources available to deal with it.
2. Select the right tools
With over 400 on the market, choosing the right social media monitoring tool can seem a daunting task. Do you need a tool that combines monitoring and engagement? Does it need to integrate with your existing CRM system? Does it have robust team working processes? What reporting and analytics do you require? And, what’s your budget?
3. Set up your listening programme
The vast majority of brand mentions have nothing to do with customer service. The challenge is to drill into the ones that do by identifying support related words (help, broken, rubbish) and keywords associated with known problems.
4. Empower your staff
Empowering your customer service staff is essential if they are to ‘wow’ your customers. They need to be able to make quick decisions without waiting for approval and they need to know that they will be supported – even if they don’t make the right decision every time.
5. Connect social media with other channels
Conversations are increasingly switching between different channels. What starts out on Twitter will often move between email, phone, live chat, and back to Twitter. It’s important to be able to track these conversations every step of the way.
Customers expect (very) quick responses, so decide how you will prioritise incoming enquiries. Will it be strictly first come first serve? Will you prioritise the most urgent enquiries? Will you look at how ‘influential’ the user is?
If you’re receiving a lot of enquiries, automation can be a great time saver. For instance, automatically assigning enquiries about specific issues to the appropriate team member or ensuring mentions from influential users or known detractors are sent straight to a senior member of the team.
8. Meet customer expectations
42% of Twitter users expect a response to their enquiries in less than an hour, yet the average response time on Twitter is 357 minutes and Facebook is worse still at 819 minutes. Some brands have chosen to respond to enquiries straight away, even if it’s just to let them know that you’ve received their enquiry and you’re looking into it.
9. Social media etiquette
If a customer complains about a brand without @mentioning them or asking for help, should they respond? Some would say it’s intrusive, whilst others would be delighted to know that the brand is listening and cares enough to respond. It’s a fine line, but it could make or break your relationship with that customer.
10. Gain customer insights
The real time data available from social media monitoring tools provides a unique insight into your customers and what people are saying about your brand. This kind of insight simply isn’t available from day-to-day interactions and can help identify trends and provide early warning about product issues and potential PR crises.