5 steps to improve social customer service

18 May 2017 by Anita Matthews

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Recent statistics show providing high quality social customer care is linked to improved customer satisfaction and retention.

Customers expect a fast, friendly and efficient response across social channels.

Are you showing your customers enough love on social media?

Just 32% of social media complainers are satisfied with business' response times.

There's clearly an issue with customer expectation on responsiveness versus what brands are currently able to deliver. Additionally, social media is in the'public domain'and two further things can happen with a lack of responsiveness:

1. If a customer does not gain a response, they can get frustrated and start to vent across social channels. A simple customer request can very quickly turn into a dissatisfied customer moaning about your customer service to as many people as will listen. In the social world this means everyone who follows them on twitter, is their friend on Facebook or a LinkedIn connection.

2. If your organisation is not monitoring the social channel effectively and your competitors are there is suddenly an opportunity for them to engage directly across social networks and look to convert that customer. In effect by not responding you are handing them a warm lead.

Let's delve into some of the quick and simple steps you can take to improve your social customer service

1. Monitor mentions

You can't just scan your own Twitter accounts and Facebook pages for customer sentiment and think you have covered all of the bases. Look at Twitter, blogs, forums, You Tube channels and relevant news sites for brand mentions from your customers. It is imperative to understand who your key influencers are across each channel and the top topics being discussed.

2. Respond to your customers quickly

You have got to 'sort the wheat from the chaff’ and make sure the right people in your organisation get the right information at the right time so they can act decisively. For example 'Automations' enable you to define keywords and phrases that automatically deliver specific types of social activity to specific teams or even individual agents. This should result in a much quicker and effective response.

For more on improving the speed of your social customer care response try our checklist: How to improve social customer service response times

3. Set customer expectations

Twitter or Facebook don't have set business hours, people tweet and post when it suits them not you. But, it is good practice to define core opening hours, especially on Twitter, to help manage customer expectations.

Customer expectations are high and 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.

You always want to keep an eye on social in case a very high authority, negative sentiment post comes in on a Friday evening. You might not have your core team in place to respond, but a simple auto alert if you use a social customer platform can ensure the situation does not spiral out of control.

4. Identify issues as they emerge and proactively manage them

Most customer issues break first across social networks. Take a network outage from a telecoms company. Without doubt there will be a spike in social activity almost immediately. The good news is that using a social customer platform such as Sentiment you can use a wall board to track this spike in real-time and cross reference it with tagging to understand it's nature - e.g. network, down, problems, issue (often along with some profanities!). You can quickly identify the issue and post out useful proactive information relating to the problem. The result is turning a crisis into an opportunity to demonstrate you care about your customers and listen to them.

See our blog post on proactive social customer care to learn more about ways you can get ahead.

5. Measure your social customer satisfaction

For many years brands have used automated sentiment to measure the number of positive, negative and neutral brand mentions. However, this doesn't really provide a qualitative metric or the necessary feedback to help improve our service. Many companies now use a social CSAT (customer satisfaction) metric, where following a social interaction, an agent asks for a rating and associated comment.

Try implementing some of the measures above across your social channels and see how your customers enjoy some 'social customer care love'.

For more best practice tips and guidance try our guide: 15 essential tips for using social media to improve customer service.

Download the social customer service guide

Tags: social customer care, statistics, Institute of customer service, social customer service

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