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Your Questions Answered: Why Should You be Using Social Customer Service in your Marketing Strategy? [webinar]

Joshua March
By Joshua March on Feb 14, 2013 5:58:00 PM

Last week we hosted a great discussion on why you should be using social customer service in your marketing strategy.


I was joined by Jeremiah Owyang, Industry Analyst at the Altimeter Group, and Andrey Grigoryev, Social Media and Mobile Marketing Manager from Hertz to share industry trends, practical implementation experience and predictions for the future of social customer service. 

We had lively conversation with you throughout the webinar and on #weownyourbrand. Here, I wanted to address your questions that we didn't get to on the day - starting with rules of engagement in social customer service.

1. What is the expected turnaround time when a customer submits a query or question?

There are various stats that show that customers have much higher expectations for responses to their queries on social channels to traditional channels. The platforms they are using are much faster moving: for Twitter users, days-long responses aren’t worth giving, and companies don’t play by any other rules. Jeremiah shared in our webinar that 42% of consumers complaining on social media expect a response in 60 minutes or less. Luckily in our poll, a similar percentage of attendees had the same target!

2.  How do you create opportunities for positive social customer service engagement if you’re a brand that people don’t really reach out to?

If customers don’t flock to you naturally then you need to get proactive in your approach. Effective monitoring of Twitter conversations will highlight plentiful and diverse opportunities for you to engage with customers and prospective customers. Looking out for any dissatisfaction shared on Twitter about your brand (commonly the case for companies in the services industries) actually offers the chance to create brand advocates. Reaching out provides an unexpected, positive customer experience, and there are endless examples of where this has turned customers around to publicly share their appreciation. In future, they might come to you directly.

3. What ways can we engage on Twitter without appearing like we are creeping and how can we jump into existing conversations on Twitter related to a customer service inquiry when our brand isn’t directly mentioned or is the subject of that conversation?

Proactive engagement on Twitter is a fine art, and as ever, tone needs to be considered differently for different brands. However, it’s safe to presume you should take a soft approach when stepping into conversations about you, rather than directed to you. As Jeremiah raised during our discussion, a humble  ‘Can I Help?’ can go a very long way. It’s important to be sensitive to customers’ expectations, as there are many different situations where customers will mention you without the @ - so context is key and training your agents to understand consumer behavior on Twitter to recognize that is a must.  Don’t be afraid of reaching out though. As long as you do so in the spirit of assistance, your customers will be pleasantly surprised.

4. I’m just as interested in the topic “Why You Should be Using Marketing in Your Customer Service Strategy.” I’d like to see examples of how your clients have transitioned a customer service engagement into a sales opportunity – without being salesy.

The sales opportunities from social customer service are broad, but competitor monitoring is an interesting area here. Again, rules of engagement are complex, but several companies use humourous, lighthearted engagement as a tool to reach out. GoDaddy and Tesco both engage with consumers’ grumbles about their competitors in the spirit of service and conversation. This can be considered early stage sales and marketing, placing your brand positively in a customer’s mind and paving the way for future sales.

5. How do you send out mass responses to the same question on Facebook without appearing patronizing?

Personalization on Facebook is hugely important. It’s key to all social platforms, but on Facebook in particular repetitive, robotic responses are there for all to see amongst your marketing messaging. There are a couple of ways to avoid this. If a particular issue flares, it might be appropriate to post out an update to spread your answer to a wider audience. If you repeatedly receive FAQs on your customer wall, it’s important to customize template responses with customer names and tweaked language. Training for agents to break away from rigid templates is key – as a human experience is even more important than perfect accuracy.

If you missed “Your Customers Own Your Brand”, or would like to recap, you can watch in full here.

Next, I'll be sharing answers to your questions on measuring your social customer service success. 

Topics: Customer Service

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