Name the number 1 thing that frustrates you about your in-store experience while shopping? It will differ for us all, but for me it has to be when an eager, young sales associate rushes up to me asking if I need any help in finding something (although only doing their job). But, I get equally upset if I’m looking for help and no one offers it, a double standard here I know.
This in-store experience is only enhanced outside of the store when consumers tweet or post an issue on social media. Ironically, few retailers think to answer customers when they tweet or post to their social media pages. In fact, when you look at response times for the top 100 retail companies, these companies are taking on average 7 hours (yes, 7 hours) to reply back to a consumer post or tweet! (find out your stats here).
So, that begs us to ask the question: why? Why is it taking so long for companies to respond on social media? Is the channel not owned by customer service? Is it getting lost in the fire hose of social media feeds? Social media is no longer about ownership, but about operations. Companies can no longer afford to let one person or team OWN social. Social media needs to be widely adopted and used differently by each aspect of the business.
This leads us to the ultimate answer to those questions. The issues that retailers face more times than not are the omni-channel and optimizing the efficiency of those operations. As of 2013, 92% of retailers struggled between the integration of online to offline communication. With that being said, social media can be the quickest way to gain or potentially lose a customer in today’s digital/mobile environment. For example, someone tweets inside of a store (see below) and the company has not invested in integrating the two experiences and loses a customer.
I’m not trying to berate the industry, only bring to light the impact that social can have on a company and potential customers. By integrating social into the in-store experience, retailers can solve the omni-channel dilemma and do so publicly for their current consumers and the potential customers out there. A #SocialFirst strategy will ultimately help companies get executive buy-in by showing the true ROI from becoming a truly social business.
Follow me @bbren151 for more social customer service insights and ideas!