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4 Ways Retailers Can Provide Better Social Media Customer Service

Theresa Semackor
By Theresa Semackor on Mar 12, 2014 10:01:53 AM

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Innovation in technology has not only changed the way people shop, but also the way in which they communicate with brands. Gone are the days of having to listen to hold music while waiting to be put through to a customer service agent — or having to write lengthy emails that have a 48 hour response time.

With smartphone usage still on a steep rise, the consumer is now more engaged, vocal and willing to speak publicly about their shopping experiences. So what can retailers do to meet—and beat—customer expectations?

Below are four tips that can be adopted by retail companies to enhance their social customer service, helping to deal with an increasingly more demanding consumer base.

1. Spread the ownership of social media across departments

As previously noted by our CEO Joshua March, marketing value needs to be protected. A company that has the ability to quickly identify and differentiate marketing chatter from complaints will be able to separate the signal from the noise, thus protecting marketing value. Therefore, having a team responsible for social marketing—and a distinct team dedicated to customer care—will result in a more efficient scaling of social customer service internally.

2. Respond to your consumers quickly and efficiently

30% of customers expect a response within an hour on Twitter; however it is not unusual to see complaints and questions being responded to many days later. Aim to respond quickly, setting response time KPI’s to measure agent performance over social. With the right resources being dedicated to social customer service, questions or comments should be responded in a timely and effective manner. The retail industry presents another opportunity for quick response times, in recent research published by Conversocial we found that 14% of tweets are sent from in-store. This presents the opportunity for brands to reach out proactively to surprise and delight the customer, potentially influencing at the point of sale.

3. Do not ignore your customers

Many retailers have been able to create social media pages that are perfect extensions of their brand, allowing for interesting and engaging content; AO.com being a great example. However some brands have struggled in their ability to engage over social, with consumer’s questions being met by deafening silence. Some retailers would argue they do not want their pages to be used for customer service, but if your customer base is choosing social as their channel of choice, your brand needs to acknowledge and respond to this. Therefore having a social presence that goes further than just marketing is imperative for brands that want to take their customers seriously.

4. Use the information available to you

With so much choice available to the consumer, service plays a big part in differentiating your offering in the highly competitive retail space. If consumers are speaking about your brand publicly, take advantage of this information and feed it back to the necessary departments.  Social media provides the perfect opportunity to not only react and respond to those users who mention you over social, but also make actionable business decisions that keep your customers happy. Back in 2010 Gap had to revert back to its original logo after a re-design resulted in a plethora of backlash from its Twitter and Facebook users.

In an ever competitive market effective social customer service gives retail brands the ability to differentiate themselves from competitors, adding a layer of luxury along the way.

If you are interested in viewing your performance on Twitter, or that of your competitors, be sure to view our Twitter Tracker, which provides vital statistics on your Twitter customer service performance.

Click here for your free Twitter performance report!

Topics: Retail, Best Practices

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