It may be time to outsource social customer care.
Many companies can’t keep up with social media customer care requests. Or they’re not able to fulfill the online customer service needs they get on a daily basis — even if they’re all positive.
Or perhaps you just don’t know the difference between social customer care and social customer service.
If this is you, keep reading!
The Realities Of Social Customer Care
Too-long hold times. Being transferred from person to person. Unorganized automated menus.
Bottom line, your customers expect better customer service.
Here are a few research pieces — via eMarketer — supporting that statement:
” … an October 2018 survey of US internet users by Zendesk, compared with five years ago, more are looking for answers on their own, expect less complicated interactions, and want more options for contacting customer service. A majority (65%) also expect customer service to be faster now than in the recent past.
“In an August 2018 survey by Aspect Software, consumer-reported incidences of customer service contact had declined over the past few years, from 71% in 2015 to 62% in 2018. But it’s not as if consumers have fewer questions or issues. This decline can be explained in part because close to half (47%) did not consider self-service interactions to be customer service contact. The definition of customer service is evolving, especially among younger consumers.”
And when it comes to Twitter, 24% of users ranked speed as the most important attribute for customer service.
Overall, your brand is more likely to receive a request on social media about service and not marketing. J.D. Power found that 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, compared with 33% for social marketing.
Social Customer Care vs. Social Customer Service
While these two terms are closely related, there are a few key differences.
Sprout Social has a wonderfully detailed breakdown for you. But if you don’t want to read, here’s the gist.
“Customer service is generally a passive but responsive field. In this scenario, the company responds only when a customer comes to them with a question or issue.
In customer care, the company is proactive in meeting customers’ needs – this can take multiple forms including:
- Having a self-service help center
- Educating the consumer about your product
- Interacting with a consumer on a consistent basis before they make a purchase
- When they reach out to you on social media, already having their order information on hand
- Offering personalized service”
Reason #1 to Outsource Social Customer Care: Many companies are not equipped to go beyond customer service. This is one very good reason these companies should outsource social customer care to a third party.
Customer care is a proactive service and relies heavily on social listening to meet customers where they are (and before a problem arises).
Self-Service Options For Customer Care
Another option of customer care or customer service is self-service. We often see these in the form of chatbots.
Although Millennials were the age group with the largest number on board with chatbots (63%), keep in mind that multiple studies that have shown that consumers still want access to a human, when needed.
Setting up a chatbot isn’t a “set it and forget it” process — especially when it comes to social customer care. Reason #2 to Outsource Social Customer Care: If self-service and chatbots are a part of your customer care strategy, you may want to bring in experts familiar with bots and AI.
5 More Reasons To Outsource Social Customer Care
Much like outsourcing your social media, there are obvious signs that will tell you to consider outsourcing your customer care.
Here are the reasons 3-7 to outsource social customer care:
- Collecting, recording, and reporting on data. Agencies often have access to state-of-the-art tools, like listening tools for proactive customer care.
- TIME. It’s awfully hard to find employees who want to work before or after-hours, weekends, and holidays. But customer care doesn’t take time off. Outsourcing can help you fill those gaps.
- Experience. It takes a special “handle with care” attitude to deal with social media complaints. And trolls. And a keen sense of when (and how) to move the conversation offline.
- People and resources. Some companies only have one person assigned to ALL of their social endeavors, including social customer care. This undertaking is too much for a team of one. Time to outsource!
- MONEY. It can often cost you far less to outsource social customer care to a third party than to take on more salaries, benefits, and overhead.
All in all, there are many DOs and DON’Ts of customer care — especially on social. Whether you decide to get outside help is up to you.
Hopefully, this guide helps you with your decision!
And if you already have a social customer care plan up and running, let us know what’s worked in the comments below.
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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