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Integrating Social Care into Your Overall Customer Experience Strategy

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Integrating social media into your overall customer experience strategy isn’t just a step forward; it’s a transformative approach for businesses aiming to cultivate and enrich their relationships with customers.

A customer experience strategy that skillfully includes social media channels can dramatically amplify the depth, reach, and effectiveness of your customer interactions.

This approach, known as ‘social care’, is elevating the entire customer journey to new heights of engagement and satisfaction.

The Critical Role of Social Media in Your Customer Experience Strategy

As you know, social media platforms have fundamentally altered the landscape of customer interaction. They are now at the forefront of a successful customer experience strategy.

Recognizing this transformation involves understanding that today’s customers expect not only swift and efficient support but also a genuine, engaging relationship with brands.

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[Source: Sprout Social]

Integrating social media or social care into your customer experience strategy offers a direct line to meet these expectations, providing a platform for immediate, relatable, and interactive communication.

Essential Elements for Social Care & Your Customer Experience Strategy

As we look into the nuances of integrating social media within a customer experience strategy, it’s pivotal to recognize the role of “social care.”

Social care refers to the practice of providing support and nurturing customer relationships through social media channels. Additionally, it includes offering sales support to potential customers, or social selling.

social selling dealbreakers

[Source: Bambu by Sprout]

This modern facet of customer service is an integral component of a broader customer experience strategy, blending traditional support mechanisms with the immediacy and connectivity offered by social platforms.

Below, I’ll outline the essential elements required for incorporating social care effectively, ensuring your strategy is not only comprehensive but also deeply resonant with today’s digitally savvy consumers.

Essential Elements for Incorporating Social Care into Your Customer Experience Strategy

1) Proactive Engagement

Beyond reacting to customer inquiries and complaints, proactive engagement involves reaching out to customers before they come to you.

This could mean addressing potential issues flagged through social listening, sharing helpful content that anticipates customer needs, or engaging in conversations that build community.

Proactive engagement demonstrates your brand’s commitment to customer well-being and satisfaction, integral to a customer experience strategy that values anticipation over reaction.

2) Social Listening and Analytics

Utilizing social listening tools and analytics is critical for understanding customer sentiment, preferences, and emerging trends.

pet-brand-customer-data-sentiment-score

[Source: A pet brand client’s sentiment score]

This insight allows you to tailor your social care initiatives to match customer expectations, identify areas for improvement, and recognize opportunities for positive engagement.

For instance, with the pet brand examples above, we could dig into the 9% negative sentiment to understand what complaints were about.

Effective social listening informs your strategy, ensuring it’s responsive to the ever-changing digital landscape.

3) Personalization

With social care, personalization goes a long way in making customers feel valued and understood.

This involves using customer data to tailor interactions, addressing customers by name, and providing solutions that consider their history and preferences.

As an example, Salesforce has an integration with Sprout Social. This allows Salesforce to act as social CRM tool and support your entire business.

Sprout Social Salesforce High Res

[Source: Salesforce]

Personalization enhances the customer experience, fostering a sense of individual attention and care. And, if you can integrate your social media dashboard with your CRM, you’re golden!

4) Rapid Response Systems

The expectation for quick responses on social media necessitates a system that can efficiently manage and prioritize inquiries.

Social media chatbots are automated tools programmed to mimic human conversations on social platforms. They aim to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of interactions between businesses and users.

For example, Facebook’s messenger bot can help with certain customer inquiries:

FB messenger bot

[Source]

My advice: involve automation for initial responses, but offer a seamless transition to human support for more complex issues.

A robust rapid response system is essential for maintaining the timeliness and effectiveness of your social care efforts.

Did you know B Squared Media acts as a rapid response system for many well-known brands?! 

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5) Customer Experience Strategy: Training & Empowerment

Equipping your team with the skills and knowledge to execute social care effectively is crucial. What we’ve found is that the traditional customer support team or call center is often not a good fit.

Traditional call centers and customer support systems, while effective for certain types of customer interactions, often face challenges when adapted to the demands of social care for several reasons:

1. Speed and Scalability:
  • Traditional Systems: Designed for one-on-one interactions. Teams become overwhelmed during peak times, leading to long wait times.
  • Social Care Needs: Requires rapid responses to inquiries and complaints, often in real time.
2. Public vs. Private Interaction:
  • Traditional Systems: Operate primarily in a private, one-on-one context where interactions are not visible to the public.
  • Social Care Needs: Involves managing both public posts and private messages, requiring a nuanced approach to maintain brand image while addressing individual concerns effectively.
3. Tone and Personalization:
  • Traditional Systems: May follow a more formal or scripted interaction style, which can feel impersonal to the customer.
  • Social Care Needs: Demands a more casual, personalized approach to match the tone of social media platforms.
4. Flexibility and Adaptability:
  • Traditional Systems: Often have fixed protocols and procedures, making rapid adaptation to emerging issues or crises difficult.
  • Social Care Needs: Requires the ability to quickly adjust strategies and responses based on real-time feedback and trends observed on social media.
5. Integration with Digital Platforms:
  • Traditional Systems: May lack seamless integration with social media platforms, hindering the ability to track and engage with customer interactions effectively across channels.
  • Social Care Needs: Requires tools and systems that are fully integrated with social media for comprehensive monitoring, engagement, and analytics.
6. Customer Expectations:
  • Traditional Systems: Customers contacting call centers expect to resolve issues but may be prepared for potential wait times.
  • Social Care Needs: Customers engaging on social media often expect immediate attention and resolutions.

Furthermore, training is needed on the nuances of social media communication, as well as empowering team members to make decisions that best serve the customer. An empowered and knowledgeable team can provide the nuanced and empathetic care that customers appreciate.

6) Integrated Customer Experience Strategy Support

For social care to be effective, it must be seamlessly integrated with other customer support channels. This means we often support customer support!

This ensures a cohesive customer experience, where support provided via social media is consistent with what customers might receive through email, phone, or live chat.

What’s more, this integration allows for a comprehensive view of customer interactions, enabling more personalized and informed support. For more on social care and trends for this year and beyond, check out our State of Social Care Report!

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Building Future-Ready Customer Relationships

Finally, incorporating social media into your overall customer experience strategy is about more than keeping pace with digital trends.

It’s about laying the foundation for enduring customer relationships. These are characterized by depth of connection, satisfaction, and mutual engagement.

Through active listening, prompt responses, consistent service, and empowered teams, you can craft a customer experience strategy that not only meets but anticipates the needs of your customers.

This forward-looking approach positions your brand as responsive, attentive, and deeply committed to cultivating rewarding customer journeys.

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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
Conversations That Connect
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Category: Customer Experience,
Tags: B Squared Media, Brooke B. Sellas, Brooke Sellas, customer experience, customer experience management, customer experience strategy, customer service strategy, , ,
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