So 2017 is upon us and that means one thing, it's time for resolutions. Over the course of 2016 social channels rapidly matured.
- Public dissatisfaction turned to private resolution
- Messenger became a prominent communication channel
- Twitter introduced new DM automation functionality
- And of course, the Big Bot Bang
This was matched by number of customers using social media as their primary customer service channel increasing globally, and by company uptake, with many implementing more established and integrated social customer service strategies. These emerging trends supported 1-2-1 communication between brands and customers, signaling the market maturity of social customer service over the course of 2016.
But there is still room for improvement. In an always on and real-time messaging world, consumers expect far more than they have before. Resolving customer issues slower than consumers expect, or even neglecting to answer at all, both result in consumers abandoning purchases, brand loyalty or interest in further patronage of your company. Organizations in 2017 must make social a core customer service offering that is efficient and scalable.
So with the holiday season finally having come to a close, it's now time to put those New Year's Resolutions to the test! Here are 5 resolutions for companies to really adopt a #SocialFirst approach to customer service;
1) Get Social Customer Service Buy-In From Your CTO (or Your Chief Customer Officer)
The transition of communication from public to private channels makes social customer service fundamentally different. Systems built for the old paradigm of one email chain, one customer, and one ticket do not work when a conversation can pass seamlessly between private and public, traditional and social. Therefore having your CTO involved in technology implementation is paramount. If companies embrace this concept they can benefit from continued business success, as purchasing decisions will be made with longevity in mind.
2) Allow Social Care to Break Down Internal Silos
I have written extensively in the past, as have many of my colleague, regarding the need for contact centers to “own” social care. What has become clear is that the the question of ownership will out live 2017. Social care requires a holistic approach with many internal stakeholders holding a vested interest. Marketing has the skill set and responsibility for Tone of Voice, customer service should own process and strategy. Your product department needs full access to social data. For social care to be a success you need a collaborative approach internally, with the ultimate aim to influence corporate culture to become more customer centric. Integrating with CRM systems to exchange information in a multi-channel support environment is essential for any forward thinking business.
3) Build a Single View of Your Social Customer
For years, all online identification mechanisms were not only completely separate from real identity, but were also disconnected from each other. Because of this, companies have been struggling to obtain a “single view” of the customer for decades. Building a social identity has the potential to tie all of these details together. If you can tie the data together from all customer touch points, not only service channels, it gives the ability to deliver completely personalized service. Programmatic advertising is now common practice for multinational companies. Why is the same investment not given to customer retention? Consumers expect a joined up seamless interaction, therefore this should be a key consideration for brands going into 2017.
4) Map Your Mobile Customers Journey, Then Staff & Train Your Team
The shift from desktop to mobile has happened and had a profound impact on social care. Your customers now experience your brand in-the-moment on-the-go, changing the types of interactions and conversations that take place. But the immediacy of social channels represents a real opportunity for companies to engage with customers, potentially at the point-of-purchase.
2017 should be the year that companies adopt an offensive (rather than defensive) social care strategy through proactive social customer service. But this requires a team built for success. Social agents are no longer hidden behind the bricks and mortar of your contact center, they need to be brand advocates, fully embedded within your company culture and tone.
5) Use Social Customer Service Data to Deliver Actionable Business Insight
Social customer service delivers a wealth of data that gives real insight into your business ecosystem. Make it easy for your customer service team to drill down on metrics and see the underlying data for informed decision making.
I admit these are all “nice to haves” and are the signs a fully mature social care strategy. But they are targets for us to drive towards as an industry. At its core, however, social customer service comes into its own when meaningful, two-way dialogue takes place between brands and customers. Regardless of if you have a full data stack, the aim must be to resolve in channel in a timely manner.
Want to learn more about how you can serve your social, mobile customers better in 2017? Download our Definitive Guide to Social Care today!