5 ways retailers can use social media to improve customer service

24 May 2017 by Anita Matthews

How retailers can use social media to improve customer serviceCompetition is fierce in the retail sector and businesses need to create meaningful service differences to survive and thrive.  Price competition is no longer enough, the service experience must match the marketing hype.

As customers spend increasing amounts of time online brands have the opportunity to engage with them throughout the purchasing journey and deliver outstanding customer care. To deliver a high quality experience you need to be able to manage social interactions at scale and respond quickly and effectively across channels.

  • Research by the Institute of Customer Service found that 60% of UK consumers prefer a balance of price and service and will not accept low service levels in exchange for a cheaper product.
  • The Digital High Street 2020 report calculated that £150bn of retail sales in the UK are now influenced by digital, and that retailers whose services don’t meet customers’ expectations could lose more than £12bn a year.

“The vast majority of UK shoppers research online before they buy from a store. This means that every business is a digital business because every consumer is a digital consumer” Peter Fitzgerald, Google UK

These statistics show it’s more important than ever to provide customers with high quality social customer care.

Here are 5 ways retailers can tap into the power of social media to improve customer service:

1. Listen outside your @handle

Being truly omni-channel means being where your customers are. Listen beyond Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for a 360-degree view of the issues people are facing with your products and services. Monitoring all your social channels natively and locating the genuine customer enquiries among all the noise can be a challenge.  Ensure you don’t miss any messages by funnelling all your social channels into a customer engagement platform that will enable you run automations to quickly find and respond to those customers who need assistance.

2. Be responsive

Create a dedicated service handle to give customers the confidence that specialist support teams are there to serve and support them with knowledge. To help people find the right account for assistance, Twitter has made this easy with a feature for businesses to clearly display on profiles that the business ‘Provides Support’. Setting this feature also switches on capability to receive a Direct Message, via a prominent button, from anyone without the need to ask users to follow your brand first. Service hours can also be displayed.

3. Make data-driven decisions

Leverage the power of your social data by using social analytics to make sense of customer interactions and learn more about why they contacting you. Interrogate your social data to look at conversation tags applied by agents to find out why customers are sending tweets and what happened next. Chances are there will be lots of messages about how customers have been treated on other channels. Use this feedback to improve service quality and deliver a consistent experience.

Cosmetic brand Benefit asks its viewers during Facebook Live videos what they would like to see next. The brand also uses Facebook Live comments and Snapchat to ask followers about future topics and actively seek feedback.

4. Measure social performance

Measure and benchmark key social metrics to enable you to justify investment in social customer care and sustain internal sponsorship. Ensure your engagement app includes a supervisor dashboard to give senior managers a live overview of agent engagement, all in a single interface to benchmark KPIs.

See our blog post on ‘How to maximise the productivity of your social customer care team’ to learn more about increasing the productivity of social agents.

5. Get ready for real-time social messaging

Increasingly customers are using messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat or Line to communicate with brands and they expect brands to answer. Activate predicts that within a couple of years, 3.6 billion people will have a messaging app installed. They are now more popular than social networks and consumers increasingly want to connect with their favourite retailers via these apps.

16% of retail and e-commerce customers use messaging apps and usage is likely to continue growing.

Messaging apps sit well with social workflow, provide an always-on connection, to help retailers deliver quick and easy social engagement. For seamless engagement make sure the key chat apps are integrated into the customer care platform agents already use for social channels, to provide customers with the best engagement experience from a single point of access.

For more on messaging apps read our guide: How messaging apps are pushing the customer service frontier.

The social customer experience is changing. Ensure your business is prepared.

Ready to learn more? Try our retail playbook

Social Customer Service Playbook For Retailers

Tags: social customer care, retail, online retailers

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