Consider Social Customer Service to Establish Social Media ROI
"Create smiles... they are the currency of conversations." #RonR - Ted Rubin
When I tweet a brand, like a growing number of consumers, I expect them to respond, especially if I have a question or a problem. For many, Twitter has become the customer service contact of choice. Even when I don't have an inquiry, it's nice to know the brand is there in a humanistic sort of way. Like I know @AmericanAir is there for me, even when i'm not asking for anything:
As a source of measurable return on investment, good social customer service is likely to bring a smile to the face of a brand's leadership and accounting teams alike.
3 Measures for Driving Social Customer Service
There are three simple measures for driving Social CS, reduction of call center volume, increase in customer loyalty and the most valuable, converting an unhappy customer into a happy one. All three of these can be measured empirically and managed to demonstrate clear and scalable returns. Social CS also offers significant impact on organic brand SEO and overall sentiment.
Every CS manager can tell you exactly how much a customer service call or email costs. And unless your company is Zappos, there are probably strategies and tactics in place designed to minimize or eliminate these calls from voice response to off-shoring.
Social CS can help reduce call center volume by:
- Quickly resolving customer issues and questions
- Serving as a FAQ for questions - content can also be aggregated to help DIY customers
- Alerting the organization to wide-spread problems quickly through social listening for faster resolution
- Monitoring conversation and sentiment to improve service and products
- Alerting followers to potential issues (like travel disruption)
- Crowd-sourcing issue resolution
All of these tactics can be evaluated and planned in a mix that best fits the specific needs of the brand. Simplistic reporting can also be shared within an organization.
Measurable customer loyalty metrics can also benefit from a social approach. Along with volume and sentiment, overall customer connection to a brand can be evaluated and quantified into basket size and frequency of purchase. I've personally worked with two different types of retailers that were able to show that the more social connections a customer had, the more they shopped and the more they bought.
How Social Customer Service Can Create Co-Marketers
Leveraging the customer service impact of these relationships is likely to increase the overall connection level and also demonstrate to less-loyal and non-customers how a brand treats its fans. Establishing sentiment baselines and measuring change over time with correlation to social interaction volume is something most popular listening tools offer.
Finally, fixing a problem or complaint is perhaps the most valuable thing a brand can do via social customer service. Conventional wisdom says that an unhappy customer tells at least 10 others about their experience. So how many does a 'resolved' customer tell? The answer is not only many more, but the interaction demonstrates for others that the brand is committed to building a relationship. Customers who have had a problem resolved frequently become valuable co-marketers for a brand providing benefits long after the transaction.
Combined, these three strategies can create great returns for invested social media dollars. More importantly however, leveraging social CS will build valuable, long lasting relationships with customers. Rod Brooks of Pemco Insurance and Ted Rubin of Brand Innovators and I once had a great conversation about the 'brand defender' level of customer loyalty, I believe every organization could create a business model to foster that relationship level and measure the impact. Social Customer Service can be the foundation to get there.
About the Author
John Andrews is Chief Marketing Officer for Ignite Social Media. A disruptive marketer with over 20 years of progressive marketing and operational experience with leading brands like Hanes, Eastman Kodak Digital, Newell Rubbermaid, and Walmart, John uses a hands on approach to implementing innovative marketing plans with demonstrated ROI. John excels at identifying marketplace opportunities and executing on strategic plans to deliver successful outcomes. Connect with John: on Twitter @Katadhin and on Google+.
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