How eBay uses social media to create customer service experiences that make a difference

24 February 2017 by Anita Matthews

eBay uses social media to make a difference for it's customers

For many the idea of managing customer service on social media can seem like a daunting prospect, but handled correctly it can serve as a point of differentiation in a crowded market.  Lots of brands are starting to see how social engagement has driven higher sales and there is an opportunity to improve customer acquisition, loyalty and retention with positive engagement. The real value of social engagement is keeping existing customers happy and customer satisfaction pays. Data from Aberdeen Group showed that organisations that evolved social care capabilities improved year-over-year revenue per contact by 19% compared with those who were not active.

For Sentiment customer eBay, social is a key customer channel and an intersection point between buyers and sellers who both have a different set of questions of problems.

“We can't be too biased on the buyer side and we can't be too heavy on the seller side,” says Dallen McKee, Global Social Media Customer Care Team Leader at eBay. “We have to create a good experience for both.” (Social Media Today)

Managing for personalisation at scale

eBay’s goal is to create a personalised interactions whilst balancing this against the need to answer all social queries as quickly as possible. This can inevitably lead to large volume increases. Once customers see a brand listens, responds and engages on social, volume tends to increase. More engagement equals more inquiries.  

Ebay new year resolution reply.jpg

For eBay, customer service inquiries are currently growing around 20% year on year for both Twitter and Facebook as customers realise they can use social as the first point of contact for their issue or question. Given the lower costs associated with social over more traditional channels such as voice it makes sense for large organisations to deflect enquiries to social where possible.

There’s plenty more about this in our guide: How to handle social customer service at scale

Proactive communication and supporting customers with the knowledge to self-serve can also help reduce the need for costly phone calls.

Here eBay uses it’s YouTube channel effectively to provide a host of how-to videos for both buyers and sellers.

 Leading the way with AI

Social also allows eBay to engage with customers at any stage of the customer journey, providing helpful informative product related information along the way. The recently launched eBay Shopbot is designed to be a virtual shopping assistant, and helps customers find items and make purchasing decisions. It’s one of the first brands to introduce AI commerce into the shopping experience.

eBay shopbot.jpg

Social data

One of the positives (and negatives) of social is that customer feedback is instantaneous. It can be quickly shared across the business to support product development and improve the customer experience. Elon Musk, CEO Tesla is another master at this.

By offering a superior customer experience brands such as eBay can hope to gain and retain more customers and learn from their feedback.

Here are some top tips for mastering social customer service the eBay way:

  • Plan as a business - you need an organisation-wide programme. The conversations that agents have with customers are information tributaries for the rest of your business and as a business you need to figure out how to use what you learn from these conversations.
  • Understand where your customers are already talking about you - research which social channels and messaging platforms are the most popular for your customers. Comparatively analyse volumes for each platform to help you forecast inbound and outbound messaging and plan resources for first-phase deployment. Using a social customer service tool such as Sentiment with analytics will be a major help here.
  • Understand what your customers want - deep dive into comments to find out why they are asking for help or information, what their pain points are, and what they like and what works well.
  • Simplify your social workflow and processes - intelligent workflow and automations in your social customer service app will make things easier for agents to quickly work through relevant messages, matched to the skills they have. Noise and spam is filtered out and priority mentions are routed to the right person at the right time to action.

For more tips and best practice guidance read our guide: How to handle social customer service at scale

To see how the Sentiment app could help your business with social customer service, request a demo today!

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Tags: customer experience, Social media, chat bot

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