The advent of social media and the interactive features of different social media platforms have led to an explosion of interest and avenues in customer engagement. The opportunities presented by social media to help build close relationships with customers seem to have excited consumers and practitioners in a wide variety of industries worldwide. We all would have heard excerpts from Customer interactions like “Twitter is the future primary medium for Customer Service” or “I get faster and better response from companies when I express dissatisfaction in social media.”
The key factors to consider on the way to achieve optimum Social Customer Service are:
1) Wide spectrum of Social Media Presence: Watching a conversation gives one a good idea of the brand’s reputation and standing in social media and elsewhere, but it’s a passive approach. Great customer service is active. To get started, make your social media presence known. The users should be asked to associate with you on all social media platforms, prominently place a button on your website, and advertise that you’re trying to engage with your customers in problem resolution via social media. Customer service on social media won’t work if nobody knows where to find you. Employ Social tools embedded in your CRM or Customer Service platforms to scale human relationships. Automation is good for back-end processes, not for customer relationship.
2) Being Human (Speak like a human): Customers can see through the genuine solution centric messages and detect the intentions behind them. Communicate as openly and directly as possible.
3) Ownership of the Engagement: There are various options you can evaluate such as Outsourcing Customer Service, an “indirect channel strategy. Having other entities interact on your behalf is fine, but one needs to own the engagement with customers, because it is your brand in question.
4) Accessible and Controlled Intellectual Properties: The Knowledge Base should be open to external contributions and accessible so that customers can self- and peer-help, saving the brand resources to deal with the instances where specific action is required. The social customer often knows more about the product than the vendor itself.
5) Facilitate ideation forums for Product enhancements: This does not mean just having a product manager collecting use cases from customer interactions. This means to have a truly open process using social computing technology if necessary so that customer can help to co-create the solution, offer suggestions, prioritize features in a continuous and ongoing engagement.
6) Operate in Real-time: If a customer is unhappy, you want to know immediately, before she influences 10 other prospects. A happy customer becomes a brand advocate.
7) Turn your Customers to your Brand’s flag bearers: We already know that the best way to convince a prospect is to have the endorsement of a happy customer. Connect your happy customers with your prospects, be in the conversation and resonate/amplify it. That is the next level of superior customer service i.e. to appeal to people who are not your customers yet but could turn into one.
Whatever is your offering, there will be a great number of people asking questions related to your offering or product. When you just answer them with an intention of helping them out, many people naturally check out what you are building and become loyal customers. Social Customer service will eventually help in promoting a positive brand image and solving customer problems with less cost than phone or email service. Social media is helping redefine how customer service is done.
Originally published on Social Samosa