There are undeniable trends in the way customers relate to brands over Social:
- The move from public conversations to private messaging
- Expectations for fast, efficient resolution
- Social brand-shaming for escalated issues that are mishandled
- Correlation between service experiences and customer loyalty
Yet, regardless of stats, figures and trends, each customer you serve is different. These unique customers come with their own issues, expectations and past-service baggage. Yes, simple password resets and other repetitive queries are pretty much a “one size fits all” service experience. But for the rest of the issues your brand faces on digital channels, deciphering the Social Media persona of the customer you are dealing with can help your team create the right processes to deal with every different Social Personality type.
At first glance, the quiet sufferer may seem relatively harmless. This customer make no noise, provide no indications of why they are displeased with your product, service or anything else for that matter. They simply decide that “ain’t nobody got time for that,” and move on without expressing even a hint of unhappiness.
Perhaps the idea of engaging with cumbersome self-service menus that seldom result in real answers is overwhelming. Or perhaps the inkling that a phone call will connect them to a shouting match with a robot that refuses to dispatch their query in the right direction is enough to make this silent customer skip the headaches, save some time and simply move on with their lives and their patronage.
There are a few things brands can do to convert these silent sufferers into service-embracing, brand advocates. First of all, pay attention to the business insights you are collecting from all service channels. Having smart analytics set up with agile processes and a proactive approach to service can help nip problems in the bud before they become full-blown loyalty crushers. Secondly, by promoting your care channels that are more engaging and require less effort can encourage these customers to reach out, because you’re there, they’re getting answers and resolution is easy.
When you think of this customer, an image of a Type A, multi-tasking, high performance person should immediately come to mind. As customer expectations are set higher and higher, more and more of your customer base will fit this demographic. While having three different apps open on their phone, this efficient, time-focused customer will prefer self-service as long as it helps to get their answer faster.
Humanity is not lost on this customer group, but certainly not the most important part of their experience. Tools such as Live Chat, Messenger and SMS will go over well to drive customer satisfaction with this demographic because of the comfort of these channels, the immediacy in which your brand is expected to respond and the effortless escalation to real human interaction of someone who can just get the job done.
Ever had a time-sensitive flight cancelled? If you have, you know that it may be the most stress-inducing service issue there is. Any response wait time can mean the difference between a successful flight reschedule or an optionless, emotional customer. This is a time when customers will turn up the volume on public escalations, crying out for help, while reaching out on more traditional channels in hopes of connecting with someone who can assist, and quickly.
These kind of crisis customer situations are where the quality of your customer service software, not just the channels you serve, becomes imperative. The right kind of software will give you:
- A full view of the customer with CRM integration
So that you can remember your customer, and continue the conversation effortlessly, regardless of channel swapping.
- A sophisticated routing system
Using triggering systems and smart routing to agents with relevant skillsets, you can escalate the urgency for these customers in distress.
- A human-centric service program
ROI will always be important to service organizations, but it should never trump your customer’s experience, or understanding each one as an individual.
Maybe it’s a bad day, maybe your customer is easily upset, maybe you are the third company they have had to deal with today to sort out issues. Regardless of the reason for an agitated exchange with a customer, agents need to be trained to de-escalate aggressive customer queries and use it as an opportunity to show-off their brands’ customer-centric service mentality.
42% of people will tell their friends about a good customer experience on social, while 53% will talk about a bad one. (American Express Global Customer Service Barometer) The criticality of how brands handle these publicly venting customers is immense. Not only will these customers continue to spread the bad news of their brand interaction, but every other bystander on Social or within ear shot will then be another potential barer of bad service news.
Having well trained staff, with a thought-out playbook, is the greatest brand insurance when faced with livid social media customer posts. Learn more about how to handle social media crises here. Also, by offering a private channel, you can deflect the volumes on more public channels to let your most disgruntled customers find resolution and solace in private. Trust me, it works. In less than 3 months after launching Facebook Messenger as a service channel, Sprint saw a 31% increase in private messages and conversely, a 23% decrease in public comments on Facebook.
Also, these livid, outspoken customers are actually doing you a favor. Let’s revisit our Silent Sufferers for a moment. Isn’t it better to have someone blast you with a problem that you can publicly resolve for greater brand sentiment than a quiet market migrator who will leave without a trace?
These early-adopters in your customer demography are ready and waiting for you to catch up. They already know that Uber has Facebook Messenger implementation for in-channel ride orders, they’ve already upgraded their hotel room on Twitter with Hyatt and they know that Verizon has a team of experts waiting to answer them on Crowds for Twitter when they need help.
These customers will resort to using more legacy channels, but expect to be heard on the channels they actually own - Social Media. As this group grows in numbers and matures in engagement styles, so should the resolution options that you offer. Whether it be SMS, Instagram, Live Chat or Messenger - the conversations, tone and expectations may shift but the way you measure success remains the same. Speed, efficiency and positive sentiment are the gold stars of service in our digital reality. As brand differentiation becomes harder and harder to attain, you should use the satisfaction of these innovative customers as your benchmark of success.
At the end of the day, delivering humanity at scale is the kind of service that will resonate with your customers, regardless of their personality type. Smart technology that is almost omnipresent - available everywhere and always listening and responding is the aim. Technology should allow your brand to show up everywhere at all times and then get out of the way when the human touch of your well-trained service agents is required.