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The Social Engagement Hub: Understanding Your Customers

By Rachel Tran on Jul 19, 2013 12:19:00 PM

More and more consumers are starting to favour social media channels over traditional methods for customer service - some studies suggest as high as one third. 

But before you can organize any process or resources to meet that demand, it’s important to fully understand it. By gaining insight into your customers’ needs and behaviour you will be able to run a smoother Social Customer Service operation that delivers an amazing experience and adds value to your business.

Understanding Customer Issues

Being able to communicate an entirely new set of issues over social channels is a massive benefit for customers, especially those issues which are time-sensitive and merit immediate attention. Social media has made it easy and convenient for customers to communicate with brands regularly, and for them to share their complaints publicly rather than just behind closed doors with peers – the power of the customer is even more evident now than it has ever been. We’ve created a simple matrix which can be used to categorise the type of queries which are often brought to businesses over social media - how urgent is your social customer service demand?

Understanding Volume

To meet the demands of your customers on social networks consistently, you first have to understand the volume of messages you receive to build a suitable team to handle these interactions. While you can only discover exactly how quickly your agents will be able to process social messages by building up your team, leading companies have found that fully trained agents can manage 4-8 times the number of messages on social media as they can over the phone.

Understanding Expectations for Speed

The magic of social media is the speed it allows for interactions, and the people - or companies - it can connect you to as a result. This need for speed is at the core of social communication, and for businesses these time considerations are even more important. By having a brand presence online, you have opened a pathway for customers to conveniently and quickly get in touch and reach out for help. But how quick do you need to be to respond to your customers effectively? This will vary from company to company, but the graph below will give you a rough idea of what you should be aiming for on Facebook and Twitter based on common expectations:

Understanding Engagement Times

Your company operates a 9 – 5 social customer service program, but what happens if most of customers choose to engage with you in the evenings, with potentially urgent queries? Is your team prepared for this, or will the customers have to wait until the next day when it could have escalated?

There can be a huge variance in both the times of day and days of the week that consumers prefer to engage with companies in different industries. If your customers are most active during evenings and the weekend, but your team is only available on weekdays from 9-5, you could be missing the majority of customer complaints while they have the greatest audience. Build your staffing plans around these habits, and don’t presume they fall in line with your traditional call centre patterns – it might be necessary for you to extend your customer service operation hours.

As more consumers start using social media for customer service in your business, have you seen any changes in customer behaviour? What trends have you noticed from your customers using social customer service? Learn more about building a Social Engagement hub for your business and how you can gain from it by downloading our Quick Guide, Creating a Social Engagement Hub.

Topics: Customer Service

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