Social media customers are dominating the present day marketplace and precipitate the wave of the future. Smart companies have been paying extra mind (and of course, money) to their online and mobile presences, making customers’ experiences increasingly enjoyable, easy, and appealing to the eye. Historically, customer service departments have had a difficult (if not impossible) experience establishing such pleasant associations — and that’s where the need for forward-thinking and effective social media customer service kicks in to help boost your brand.
Social customers, often on the younger and/or modern-minded end of the consumer spectrum, have different needs, desires, and expectations than customers of a previous day and age. As “800” numbers and automated systems increasingly become nuisances of the past, your company has to understand and anticipate what its customers want, how they currently communicate, and how best to handle interactions.
Read on to get a better grasp on the social media customer so that your company can reassess and redevelop its service and sales efforts accordingly:
Many consumers are used to finding their own answers. However, at the same time, they also seek convenience. That’s why they want you to help them help themselves--and the quicker, the better. They neither want to wait nor be imposed upon, and instead expect a quick and simple solution. In fact, a whopping 82% of customers that switched companies reported they would have been more inclined to stay had their previous provider given them a solution at first response.
Social media taps into this need for speed and convenience, as customers parlay their identities and ideas onto these social channels to find and address topics of interest and concern — all in the comfort of their chosen setting at their chosen time. For each social media user, the main focus will always be me under my terms.
Social media has done many things — even the unthinkable, such as speeding up time. (Well, not the quite the physics of time, but the feeling for sure.) An hour or more lapse in a service response on social media can seem like an eternity for a user. The digital social sphere is now and new and never at rest, and your customers believe that your brand should keep up with the pace.
In fact, 42% of customers expect a social service response within the hour in which they posted. If that time figure is compromised, you can expect to suffer from the backlash. Keep your social channels open and your alerts on. Pleasantly surprise them with a quick and effective response, and your brand will be met with greater credibility.
Formulating genuine relationships with brands
Advertising and marketing efforts can often spur a one-sided conversation, not paying mind to the input and opinions of a company’s customer base. Rigid customer service scripts often follow the same formula, with the given company trying its hardest to maintain uniformity and uphold/restore the brand’s image. What both scenarios miss, however, is the human need for sincere connections and reciprocated dialogue.
Customers want to know that they’re valued and perceived as individuals with unique voices and concerns. They don’t want to be talked to, but rather spoken with. One major draw of social media is that users can respond to others and maintain a conversation. By recognizing your customers’ voice and respecting and recognizing each unique one, you’ll pave the way for positivity and loyalty from the user’s end. A customer will value your brand if you not only say, but show that you value her, too.
The rise of the individual
In the sea of over 1 billion social media users, it can be easy (and sometimes unavoidable) for a single user to get swept into the waves of the wider pack. Similarly in a social media service experience, they want their particular story heard, and they won’t appreciate the treatment of his/her case as one of many others. Speak to the individual at hand: address the customer by his/her name, establish common ground, and make the service interaction a noteworthy one to remember.
Now’s a good a time as ever to facilitate the shift from me to we. Get involved in determining and addressing your customers’ propensities and desires, and work tirelessly until you find your company’s own sweet spot for interactions with your customer base. By doing so you’ll be one step closer to making the world of social media your brand’s best at-the-ready ally.