Bitesize - The Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service: Part 4/10
Here's part four from the series of bitesize posts from our 'Definitive Guide to Social Customer Service', a practical handbook for executing a Social Customer Service program from the ground up. You can download the guide in full here.
You know you’ve really established a social presence when the customer service issues start rolling in. In the early days, complaints and questions can be managed as they come to you, but as volumes grow, it’s time to get systematic. It’s essential for a business to avoid the snowball effect – when one complaint leads to more consumers joining in and the problem spiralling out of control. By getting involved and addressing issues, a business has the opportunity to avoid customer backlash and still maintain an exceptional level of customer service. The solution for avoiding a social crisis is to deliver responses with consistency, quality and speed. Sounds obvious I know, but what do these really mean when it comes to scalable social service?
If a business is going to answer one customer service issue through social media, it must ultimately answer them all, if social media is to become a credible service route. Giving some customers preferential treatment will have a serious effect on customer satisfaction. Most companies aren’t trying to ignore their customers, but it gets complicated with greater volumes of communication, as real issues get lost in the shuffle. And customers won’t take it quietly, but just complain further if someone else is seen to skip the queue. The right software can help to identify new customer messages to prevent you from searching for them, and organize your team’s workflow to make sure time isn’t wasted giving attention to the same message multiple times.
As soon as a customer contacts a company for support through social media, it’s important for that customer to know that someone on the other side is listening, and ready to help. Research shows that 65% of customers want a company representative to address their needs the first time that they reach out. And addressing a customer’s needs doesn’t mean referring them to another channel. If a customer chose to start the conversation on Twitter, then it should continue there and be resolved there. Provide your front-line team with enough information and enough autonomy to take the customer’s issue a step further in their first reply.
The longer that a complaint is left unanswered, the more people will see it, pushing you ever closer to the risk of a snowball. Social media is a very fast-paced platform with higher customer expectations. In fact, 81% of Twitter customers say that they want a response to their tweets in the same day, and 22% expect one within 2 hours. With such a high demand, social customer service teams need to be trained properly so that they can meet these expectations. Speedy responses are of course the final hurdle - but given the fast-moving nature of platforms like Twitter, these will have to be much more ambitious than those for traditional channels.
The accessibility of social media provides an easy route for two-way communication between businesses and consumers. But due to its fast pace, customer expectations on social media are even higher than they are on other platforms. In order to deliver a great customer experience, social customer service teams must aim to respond to their customers with consistency, quality and speed.
What are your experiences of trying to cope with scaling customer service demand in Facebook and Twitter? We’re interested to hear your opinions in the comments below.
Got any suggestions for what you’d like to hear from us? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Conversocial. We’re always looking for new ideas.