Many companies still treat customer service on social media as an afterthought – once their content is posted it’s job done! Yet this approach may be costing them serious money…

Do you want to increase your social media ROI? Then you need to get serious about customer care! 

Read on to discover the key elements of great social media customer service, the barriers you may encounter, and future trends.

What The Science Says

Are you giving your social media customers the attention they demand? If not, you’re making a big mistake, as several studies have found that there are significant associations between customer satisfaction levels and a business’s financial performance. 

Simply put, firms who focus on excellent customer service reap the benefits in their revenue.

Here are just two examples.  

In Europe, the positive role of customer relationship management is highlighted by research from Denmark, suggesting that high-performing companies differ significantly from low-performing companies in how they master and deliver excellent customer relationship management.

The main findings demonstrated that businesses who provide superior customer service for their products and services enjoy measurable financial success.

Evidence from Thailand indicates this also applies to social media platforms.

Researchers investigated how 217 small retail businesses utilised social media to communicate with their customers. Their results showed that the entrepreneurs who used social media intensively for customer service tended to report higher satisfaction with their business performance!

How Are Customers Using Social Media?

In recent years, there has been a deluge of consumers seeking resolutions to their customer care issues via brands social media pages. To put this into context, 1 in 3 social media users now prefer social media customer care services to phoning or emailing a business.

Twitter statistics also demonstrate this seismic shift:

  • 82% of people on Twitter actively engage with brands
  • 80% of customer service requests sent via social platforms happen on Twitter
  • The average cost of a social customer service interaction is only $1 compared to $6 for a call center interaction

Research shows that businesses who acknowledge customer service-related Tweets from consumers create a big revenue opportunity – when a customer Tweets at a business and receives a response, they are willing to spend up to 20% more on an average priced product from that business in the future!

In addition, social media platforms now actually reward you for giving great customer service – the Facebook ‘Very responsive to messages’ badge is only shown on the pages of businesses who have a response rate of at least 90% and have an average response time of less than 15 minutes.

Advanced Customer Care Via Social Listening 

The main advantages of social media customer service are well known; it is fast, cost effective, and has the ability to quickly rectify complaints at an early stage. Handling customer care issues well on a public platform can also impress other users and win more custom.

However, social listening allows a brand to turn customer care up a notch! At a basic level, business-relevant keywords can be set up and a company can be notified when a user mentions them publicly. This means the business can reach out and engage these people.

There are also more advanced methods to learn much more:

  • Search social media and the web for specific non-brand terms likely customers might use. For example if your market is B2B, you might set up phrases like ‘’my business’’, “I manage,” or ‘’my employees” to accurately identify business owners.
  • By monitoring your audience and future prospects you can then browse their interests, gain insights about their lifestyles, and discover what is important to them. This information can then be used to create events or marketing content that appeals to them.
  • Customer pain points can also be revealed by social monitoring, ensuring you avoid their dislikes and know fully who your customers are. These insights are invaluable for staying ahead of your competitors and tailoring your own business strategy

Customer Service Barriers – Points To Consider

While a social media customer service strategy is essential, there are also barriers a company will encounter. How these are managed and addressed may well dictate the success or failure of the strategy.

Here are the most common problems and how you can solve them.

  • Ineffective social management tools or software – businesses should invest in a quality social media management suite. You need to be notified of comments across all social channels and be able to respond from a single, all-in-one dashboard.
  • Customer platform preference – companies must be willing to resolve complaints via the social media platform of the customers choosing. Asking a consumer to email or phone a contact centre may not be convenient and could further deteriorate the brand-consumer relationship.
  • Response delays – customers are reaching out to you via social media because they want a rapid answer. Businesses have to give customers their immediate attention. Yet another reason to use comprehensive customer care software to make this simple.

It is also crucial that staff have full training to enable them to deliver great online support to customers. This will likely include familiarity with both business and platform social media policies, and extensive knowledge of the social media management tools being used.

The Future Trends Of Social Media Customer Service

How will customer service on social media change in the coming years? At ZoomSphere we believe 3 trends are likely to increase:

AI and the use of automation

The continuing customer demand for fast response times means that the use of AI and chatbots will grow. Many brands are now increasingly using chatbots to deal with basic customer requests, while humans deal with more advanced issues. Used well, this approach can be effective and cost efficient. 

Proactive customer service via social listening

As stated above, advanced social listening may help to win more customers and dictate business strategy. Being proactive will become essential for ambitious brands on the social media battlefield.

Faster response times

42% of customers expect a response within 60 minutes on social media. As companies utilise chatbots, response times will fall further and customers will expect this as the norm. Therefore, the demand for fast responses will only increase!

Have you seen a boost in revenue by mastering customer service? Let us know by tweeting us @ZoomSphere

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