Originally posted on Social Media Today.
Customer service is the irrefutable 'sector the never sleeps.' The customer journey requires non-stop and high quality customer care, a feat that is challenging for man power alone. Marketers, customer guidance agents, and CEOs are increasingly taking to their social media channels to address, enlighten, and entertain their audiences. Anything you have to say about your brand, can and should be said through Facebook and Twitter, a fact especially true for the information and guidance you are offering your customers.
Here are 5 life changing tips for easing your customers through the online journey via your most used social media channels.
1. Meet your critics with grace:
All brands can agree, bad reviews happen. The real point of contention is how you handle those reviews. If used correctly, negative reviews can actually act as leverage to show that you are the attentive and honest business that you say you are and that you don't shy away from unflattering feedback.
In the event of large scale upheavals or scandals, brands are increasingly opting to address their clientele via social media, as this is the tried-and-true forum for reaching large and diverse audiences. Take, for example, VolksWagen's recent diesel emission scandal in which 11 million cars worldwide were recalled. As VW embarked on what Matthias Müller (VW's new CEO) deems "the severest test in its history," they took to their online platforms to position themselves as a once outstanding company in the midst of a journey back to greatness.
A catastrophe on the scale of VW's is rare, however there are valuable lessons that CEOs, customer service agents and marketers can take from this event.
Social media provides the clearest and most direct path toward regaining your customer's trust.
Be transparent and remorseful about your failures and your customers and the world will take note.
2. Speed is king:
It's no coincidence that Facebook's newly implemented interface offers page administers intel into their average response rates. In fact, it was the obvious next step for Facebook, the doll of fit-for-business platforms, to alert admins of how active they are with their customer's queries. The new addition now shows on the backend for page admins, and in some cases is displayed on the frontend to alert visitors that the page is useable for customer service and, with documented average response times, just how usable it is.
71% of customers say that they are more likely to refer businesses that have fast and helpful customer service across their social media channels. Yet, 70% of customer service complaints on Twitter go unanswered, a problem that many CRM software companies are profiting from.
Tools such as Conversocial allow you to synch all of your customer service platforms onto one organized dashboard. Conversocial seamlessly integrates conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube into consistent engagements and actionable data between agent and customer.
Twitter is used by a large fraction of customers and if your business isn't there to meet them, it may take a toll on your customer service reputation. The biggest mistake a brand can make in customer service is underrating the importance of their touchpoints.
3. Make facts fun:
Unfortunately for customer service agents, no one enjoys spending time getting information or help from a brand. However, bold companies are now turning their customer questions into playful and engaging marketing initiatives. 'FAQs' and 'About' pages are essentials for every business, however the brands that address their customers' most asked questions creatively, will be remembered for it.
Take for example, JetBlue. There are 20 major air carriers in the United States alone, each with similar standards, practices and prices. However, when it comes to customer service, JetBlue outshines the rest and much of this can be attributed to their brilliant use of social media.
JetBlue utilizes their social media platforms not just to enlighten their customers, but to entertain them. In their mini-series of airport dos and don'ts, they took the simple and redundant fact, '3.4 oz or less in your carry-on' and turned it into a unique (and funny) video which they released across their social media channels. Not only did they inform their customers of the 3.4 oz rule, but they were able to plug one of their outstanding qualities: "Empty water bottle, nice move! Bonus points for thinking ahead of the free water refill stations!"
Videos, infographs and visuals are surefire methods for engaging your audience and spreading your brand's message.
4. Integrate APIs - JUST DO IT:
In 2015 Mark Zuckerberg said the average US consumer spends 40 minutes per day on Facebook. In other words, if your target customer is an 'average consumer' than you and your Facebook better be prepared
By integrating custom tabs (APIs) into your Facebook's backend, customers have direct access to 'Support' and 'FAQ' information right from your page. Adding APIs consolidates all of your brand information into an accessible and clear platform, so that you are essentially meeting the customer where they live.
Using Facebook also gives you leverage over competitors as it essentially cuts out the 'searching around' process. With every detail of your company consolidated into one already-in-use platform, they have no reason for browsing elsewhere. The cost of APIs pay off as they are fool-proof solutions for enhancing your social media platforms and for organizing, automating, and synchronizing customer service and technical support.
5. 24/7 Digital Guidance
The non-stop nature of customer service means that your tens of thousands of incoming queries will require more than a great customer service team. Having a digital service integrated into your customer guidance platform, takes much of the time and stress out of the overall customer experience, leaving you with the data and time to improve your CX and UX.
Social self-service widgets, such as the one by nanorep, offer simple solutions for fast and consistent responses via Facebook and across all your social media platforms. With accessible information, pulled from the details on your other channels, knowledge-learning plugins are changing the reputation of the self-service industry.
Facebook isn't the only platform in which 24/7 support is becoming more and more common (though it is does offer the most advanced options). Companies such as Target are taking their customer service initiatives to Twitter with handles such as @AskTarget, solely devoted to answering customers' less intricate, 140 character worthy, queries. This is a brilliant way of easing your customer's pain points in a fast and personal way.
Takeaways and action Items:
Optimizing your social media to meet customers' high "Social Care" standards, means breaking down the entirety of the customer journey. Consider the challenges in the everyday customer experience and the specific pain points of your clientele. The positive is that customers have the same expectations across all touchpoints: kindness, speed, usability and accessibility. The job of marketers, publishers and customer service representatives is to learn how to rework the online customer service experience to best accommodate each of their social media channels.