13 Jul Is Your Brand Ready for Customer Service on Social Media?
Social media is meant to be one thing and one thing only – and that’s social, right? A lot of us think that way because we’re used to social media being a place for audiences to interact and engage with brands in a fun and loving way, but a recent study shows that consumers want to see brands provide customer service on social. This may not be surprising if you work in social media since this trend with needing customer service on social has been growing very quickly, especially over the past year.
This report also breaks down some notable highlights:
- 47% of consumers agreed that offering strong customer service is what makes a brand best in class on social – which was the top-ranking answer
- 31% of consumers prefer to use social media when sharing feedback about a product or service
- 33% of consumers prefer to reach out on social media with a customer service issue or question
These numbers are something to remember when it comes to developing a plan for providing customer service on your social media channels, whether you’re a global, national, or smaller brand.
By knowing a high percentage of consumers want the ability to get customer service or support from your social channels, you may be wondering how you’re going to be able to offer that.
Before we dive into that, let’s consider each of the following questions for your brand:
- Which industry does your brand fall into?
- What does your current volume of comments/messages look like on your channels and what is their overall tenor?
- Do you have a budget to implement customer service support, and can that budget work to align with your current social volume needs?
Your Industry: Does Offering Customer Service on Social Make Sense?
First, we need to determine if your brand falls into an industry where offering customer service even makes sense. Here are just a few industries that would benefit from offering customer service online:
- Retail Industry: Your brand sells products or goods – online, in store locations or both. Keep in mind that common price points of goods may influence how heated customer complaints get. People are much more likely to expect support on high end purchases.
- Financial Industry: Your brand needs to be able to react quickly and securely when customers need help, especially when a location is closed or not within their travel range. An extra challenge here is protecting a consumer’s very private information.
- Restaurant Industry: Your brand needs to be able to assist customers who were not happy with their experience to retain loyalty and avoid damaging user generated content to go unanswered, thereby damaging your online reputation management.
- Startups: Your brand needs to be proactive when first starting out while generating a customer base to survive and grow long-term. You may also get very important feedback from these early customers that may help shape your corporate direction.
- SAAS Industries: Your brand offers software as a service and will need to stay on top of customer questions about how to use your software or help you identify bugs/updates to keep your existing customers happy. Consider publishing common questions to help reduce your customer service costs and to allow your customers timely resolution.
Keep your industry in mind as we move forward to our next brand check – your channel’s social climate.
Your Social Climate: How Do Your Social Channels Look and Feel Overall?
This one may require a bit more research and time to evaluate. To do this, we recommend diving into your social media channels. If you have every social media channel possible, try to focus on your top-performing ones (the channels that get the most traffic and receive the most comments/messages from your users).
Once you’ve identified your top social media channels, ask yourself these questions as you dig through the data:
- How many comments/messages do we receive on average per day?
- If you use a third-party tool, you can probably filter out volume by day, weeks or months.
- How many of those daily comments/messages need help from your brand in some way?
- See examples below if you need help determining what these might look like.
- How many of those comments/questions needing help do you answer on average?
- Any? Some? All?
Here are some general examples of comments/messages that may require help from a brand (broken down by the industries we noted above):
- Retail: Returning a product or a product is damaged upon delivery
- Financial: Questions about how users can login to their online bank account or who to call when their card turns up missing
- Restaurant: A negative photo showing how their food arrived or that their service at a location was unacceptable for some reason
- Startup: Asking about how recurring billing works or the best way to get signed up for promotional emails for future savings
- SAAS: Questions about using your SAAS or a user encountering an error that suddenly appeared
Once you’ve averaged out your comments and messages, how does that ratio look to you?
Are you noticing that there are more comments or messages that require help from the brand compared to general social banter or brand love? Are the comments or messages one-sided and overly positive or negative? Are the more negative ones aligning with needing help from the brand in some way?
Answering these questions can help you distinguish if you’re missing a big opportunity to create brand loyalty and customer retention.
Your Budget: Every Marketers Nightmare
Budgets are super important. It helps keep your brand’s bottom line strong, employees paid, improving equipment, and so much more, but it can be challenging to figure out what kind of budget you need, then work on trying to get it approved from leadership teams or departments.
What should be considered for your budget?
You may need to account for hiring additional staff to offer support in the channels (make sure you have enough people to cover what kind of volume you see daily and how technical the answers may need to be), using a CRM to track user support tickets, a third-party tool to manage your social communities, a URL link shortener and more.
What you need to remember is this, you don’t need to have an incredibly high budget to offer outstanding customer service on social and that’s why we wanted you to look at your social climate first. The key to having strong customer service falls to the individuals you have acting on it.
Read that again: The key to having strong customer service falls to the individuals you have acting on it.
Those volume numbers from your social climate review will be a factor in knowing what kind of customer service level you should start with. Some brands decide to start small and build up if they see that offering customer service improves their social climate or customer satisfaction, so that may be something to keep in the back of your mind if your budget needs to fall on the lower side and you cannot go all in right away.
Now that you have determined if your brand is ready for customer service on social media, keep an eye out for part two of this article. Our team of experts has created customer service tiers that will make it a little bit easier for you to determine which level of customer service you should offer online.
Contact our team of Community Managers today – they’ve worked with brands in several industries, different sizes and can offer incredible insights to set your brand up for success.
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