Lately, we’ve been seeing an uptick in clients wanting to hire us using social media for customer care.
In our world, that means helping the client fulfill their customer service needs through their social media channels. Because today’s world means you don’t have to dial into a call center. Or email support and wonder when you’ll get a reply.
The connected consumer now has a myriad of channels at their disposal when it comes to getting help with their would-be or actual purchase.
Is your brand/company prepared to use social media for customer care?
Find out; read on!
Social Care Growth
While “social care” is not a new concept, it certainly seems to be a growing trend with outsourced social media marketing.
Increasingly, social media channels are where customers go to solicit and receive customer care. Younger generations are especially apt to go to social channels with their needs/wants/complaints.
According to Sprout Social’s 2016 Q2 Social Index, social media is now the preferred choice for communication and customer care.
Phone and email are likely seen as too cumbersome by younger generations, and even website and Live Chat options come in second place!
“What’s more, social surpasses phone and email as the first place most people turn when they have a problem or issue with a product or service, according to Sprout’s consumer survey.”
Sprout’s 2016 Index also shed light on WHY brands may want to use social media for customer care.
According to their consumer survey:
- 73% of people have had a negative experience with a brand on social.
- 36% of people have used social to shame a company for poor customer service.
- 30% of people will go to a competitor if a brand doesn’t respond.
Next, let’s explore how brands can deliver great customer care through social media channels.
DOs: Using Social Media For Customer Care
First and foremost, take a look at your social channels. Are you seeing customer service questions come through?
I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but if customers are already using your social channels for customer care, you’ll want to do the same. 😉
Here are other customer care DOs when it comes to social care:
- Create a custom response workflow for handling customer service requests on social (we like to label ours green, yellow, or red)
- Record Frequently Asked Questions in a shared document so all customer care reps can access and add to it
- Be speedy (customers expect a same-day response time on social media)
- Act with professionalism and (actual) care
- Stay on brand (with a similar tone and voice on all responses, even if they come from different people)
- Get personal; sign off with your initials or name to show the human element
- Know when to move the conversation offline
- Use social listening to join the conversation BEFORE a complaint is made
- Name your customer, if you can. People love that! (example: Thanks for bringing that to our attention, Brooke! Can you DM us with your account # so we can look into this?” ~ BBS)
While customer care seems like an easy route to take with your social media channels, finding the right people to manage customer service complaints is key.
DON’Ts: Using Social Media For Customer Care
DON’Ts often seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people/brands get these wrong!
- Half-ass it; if you’re going to use social media for customer care, you’ll need to answer every. single. request.
- Let customers assume you’re on 24/7. Give office hours in your bio or with an away chatbot message.
- Delete the bad stuff. We have strict rules about deleting comments … this is usually only for trolls! (which leads me to …)
- Engage with the trolls. Some people literally try and get your goat for their own gain. Don’t buy into it!
- Get defensive. This is harder than it sounds! Stay calm, stay positive, and stay in communication!
- Overwhelm yourself during outages. Post a pinned message about maintenance or outages and don’t feel the need to reply to every person affected by a single issue.
- Give too much information. Know when to move to direct messages (DM) or private messages (PM).
- Neglect user-generated content. If someone says something good about you, ask for permission to reuse it!
Assembling Your Social Customer Care Team
Finding the right team to manage your social care is so critically important. The size of your company will determine what you’re capable of.
For example, we work with a few large teams that have three components to their social care team, including
- Customer Service
Smaller teams may outsource to us but also use a service like ZenDesk.
And some of our clients have only teams from B Squared Media handling their social media questions and complaints. Obviously, there are some things we can’t do, like offer a refund or see sensitive financial information, meaning you have to have someone internally dedicated to a real social care program.
Overall, it’s salient to consider the future of social and what it means.
My guess is that social customer care and using social media for customer care is only going to continue to grow. Are you prepare to take this program on?
Curious, does your company currently offer customer care through social channels? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media management & advertising 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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