Customer support via social media wins your customer's hearts

Social Media is one of the most popular marketing tools of the digital customer journey. Furthermore, to run a social media channel, you don’t need a big budget. So why not use it for more than just marketing?

Social media goes service

According to a study by jdpower (PDF), two thirds of all customers visit the social media-profile of a company because they expect a service from it. This means that the usual information that companies provide on their social media channels – mainly product and company news – is only relevant to one third of their customers.

The reasons to contact a company via social media are clear:

  • Your customers can contact you directly and don’t have to search for the contact address or form. They don’t need to register or fill in their complete address and telephone number.
  • Social media is a fast medium, therefore, customers get immediate feedback.
  • Other social media users and customers can support and/or help by adding to the (public) conversation.

For a customer, it’s easy to see why a social media channel is the perfect choice to voice their problems and get immediate feedback. They also can use the public display of their problems and therefore the highly visible communication as leverage (e.g., negative or even rude replies can be shared with everyone). Most companies, however, still haven’t discovered and made use of their social channels to combine their marketing and service communication.

The customer journey and therefore the connection of channels, content and customer services needs to be seamless. The step to make the social media channels a new touchpoint for a customer’s request is a logical development for any customer-centric approach.

The benefits of customer support via social media:

  • A fast solution to a customer problem can lead to more loyalty.
  • Given the public nature of social media communication, leads and other customers can see how well your company handles and solves problems.
  • Customers have a new channel to interact and offer great insights into your customer experience (whether good or bad).
  • Companies can prove that they are transparent and modern and can keep up with the digital age (and their customer’s use of communication technology).

Naturally, a new communication channel is also a new challenge. From synchronizing the data with other channels and systems to meeting the demands of social media communication such as speed, tone and relevance.

Jay Bear asked customers about the amount of time they accept from the first request to the reply. He found out that most customers expect a reply in less than 60 minutes (Jay Baer, concinveandconvert.com). This means that most companies, who so far have relied on automated posts must invest in more skilled service personnel that communicates with customers during working hours.

Moreover, the responsible social media managers need to follow proper company and style guidelines to deal with angry customers, rude comments or sudden accumulations of criticism.

A connection with the CRM system is also recommended since the customer interactions on social media can offer much more insight into the customer experience than normal contact forms. It is clearly much easier to tweet something than find, fill out and send a contact form.

To offer customer support via Twitter, Facebook and Co. is a tremendous gain when it comes to customer-centric communication. Social media channels are more direct, easier to locate and offer – if run properly – immediate help on small and big issues. However, adding customer support also demands a better workflow between marketing and service as well as the technical infrastructure to ensure a seamless communication with no data loss between interactions.

Good customer service starts with customer centricity and ends with the right tools for smooth processes.

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