When opening a business, no matter what industry it might be in, a business owner is always after customer satisfaction and you can always ensure customer happiness with the help of social media. Social media plays an important role for your business and personal life. Not only does it act as an avenue for you to promote your business, the various social media platforms help you have a more personalized interaction with your customers, and improve your customer support.
Nobody can hide from their customers these days. Today, companies should learn how to use social media effectively to differentiate themselves from the competition. There are high expectations as The Social Habit found out when conducting an experiment, in which 42% of customers expected a response from a company within an hour. Even more worryingly, 32% of them expected a response in half the amount of time, and even if those could be classed as unrealistic expectations it will still damage a company's reputation if they're not met.
Brands might assume they're increasing their reputation with each day that passes, but as HelpScout discovered only 8% of customers think companies are doing a superior job using social media, even though 80% of companies would class their social conversations with customers as superior. There is a disconnect somewhere, so to help you out we're going to look at how your business can offer a customer support service on social media anyone would be proud of, which will help your brand stand out.
How To Use Social Media For Customer Support
Although there are hundreds of ways to use social media for customer support, there are perhaps 3 special ones you should pay attention to if you want the best results. Let's break them down so you know what you should be aiming for.
#1. A Very Quick Response Time
We've already touched on the fact nearly half of your customers expect a reply from your customer support staff, so the main thing you should be worried about is your response time.
You would expect airlines to be masters of social media due to the nature of their industry, and although a lot of them have a bad reputation JetBlue seems to be bucking the trend. If you do a quick search online you'll see they're recognized for their excellent social media customer support service.
#2. Go Where Your Customers Are
If a tree falls in the woods when nobody is around, does it make a noise? People have been arguing over that for years, but if you put it into a social media context the tree does make a noise. Just because you aren't where your customers don't mean they're not complaining about you to everyone who will listen, so you must be on all the platforms your customers are likely to be. Facebook and Twitter are the big ones and it's worrying that between the two, 59.3% of questions are asked on Twitter but a response rate of 59.4% on Facebook is almost 20% higher.
#3. Focus On Delivering A Happy Outcome
At the end of the day, every single one of your customers will be happy if you can offer them a positive outcome through social conversations when they reach out to you. Even if you can't give someone what they want, which is the case a lot of the time, they might still be happy you've interacted with them. There are lots of things you have to weigh up when interacting with customers, but as long as you focus on giving them a happy outcome you can't go wrong.
The Steps Your Company Should Be Following
There are certain things every company should be implementing when trying to improve the support they offer on social media, and once again we'll look at the 3 main ones in the category to help you know what to concentrate on.
#1. A Social Media Customer Service Plan
Everyone on your team has to be following the same playbook. You must come up with a plan to help determine how you're going to interact with customers. Each member of the team should know what they're allowed to say and how far they can go to please the customer. Getting this right from the start will ensure you don't start sending out mixed signals to customers, which can be quite confusing at best and at worst it will severely damage your brand.
#2. Online Media Monitoring Of Brands And Products
We live in a world now where customer support staff don't need to sit around scratching their head until they receive a phone call. Online media monitoring tools will scour social media platforms and they'll instantly tell you whenever your brand name or products have been mentioned. Even if the conversation isn't of a negative nature you can still surprise everyone by joining in, so online media monitoring tools are a must for every business.
#3. Asking Customers For Feedback
Only an arrogant company would assume they could do no wrong, yet the majority of them out there aren't asking customers for feedback. Not only will your customers feel special as they'll think they've played a small part in helping you succeed, but they will actually come up with suggestions you've never thought about before. There are lots of ways to ask for feedback, including mass surveys and individual forms when you've helped someone, but you must start utilizing them straight away if your social media customer support is going to stand out.
The Main Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) To Track
As soon as you start tracking certain things you'll know where you're going wrong and how you can make improvements, but more importantly they'll give you peace of mind as you'll be able to track things instead of guessing. I find out in this amazing book about Jeff Bezos's life: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon these 3 top key performance indicators businesses that you should monitor when it's come to your customer support:
#1. The Time Taken To Initially Respond
Do you know Nike have a separate Twitter handle for support questions? They've actually sent out more tweets from their support account (160K) than their main one (11K). They did this so they could drive down the time it took to initially respond to customers, because even though they're one of the biggest companies in the world they know tracking the time to initially respond to customers can help them come up with ideas to grow their brand.
#2. The Time Taken To Resolve The Issue
After you've initially responded to a customer, you'll need to determine how long it takes until the case is closed. Failure to get this time down to a minimum could mean your customers start ranting about your customer support skills as well as the initial problem they had. In the majority of cases, you should be able to deal with an issue straight away, but knowing you can resolve all issues as fast as possible will help your brand.
#3. Constantly Reaching Inbox Zero
Inbox zero is the point in which you don't have any emails sitting in your inbox. There are a few ways you can tackle this, but because emails pile up on a daily basis you want to at least reach inbox zero once per week. It would be great if you could hit it on a daily basis, but as long as you get there once per week it means you can start the new week on a clean slate. If you don't get your emails under control you'll drown in them over time.
Customer happiness or satisfaction is one major indicator if your business will survive or not. Do you remember when we eloquently referred to social media as Web 2.0 during its humble beginnings? It was meant to bring people together, but nobody could have envisioned the effect it would have on companies connecting with their loyal customers. Thanks to online media monitoring tools a company can now step in to talk with their customers even if they're not part of the initial conversation. Address your customer concerns and make them happy! Start now!
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