In our last article we discussed the new rules of engagement in social media. We believe that the power of your conventional approach to social media can be turned up significantly by combining it with a real time component. When it comes to customer care a real time response can boost both your customer retention and your bottom line revenue. Let’s take a closer look at some developing trends.
Customer service is changing
Customer service is the biggest and most important reason to incorporate a real time social media based approach to your customer care and retention efforts. At the core of this reasoning is the changing expectations of your customers. In general, customer expectations have expanded to the point where they expect to receive a response to a complaint or inquiry within an hour. Dialing your way through a multi-level phone maze, enduring multiple transfers to different departments or filling out an online form and sending it into a black hole equal additional frustration for an already annoyed customer. And the ripple effect on your business can be significant.
An article at ClickZ Marketing News reported this data:
Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) survey conducted in February looking at data from 120 large companies such as Samsung, Macy’s, and BMW, SMMU found that 11 percent of brands have lost revenue, 15 percent have lost customers, and 26 percent have tarnished reputations, all because of negative comments on social media.
Meet them where they live
Social media sites have become an integral part of our culture. As a result the use of these platforms for customer service is turning the corner from cutting-edge concept to business necessity. And at a pretty good pace. Dan Evans, in his great article on Fixing Customer Care explains this trend:
It’s driven by time-starved, gratification seeking customers for whom the prospect of calling and waiting is off-putting. Even though most issues are resolved promptly, the mental perception for most customers is ‘I need to call customer care… but I’ll do it later when I have time.’ And perception is reality.
Using social media your frustrated customer can be helped more quickly than by conventional methods. The result is a more positive overall experience reducing the likelihood of negative comments. This rapid response and attention also makes it less likely that you will be dealing with an upset customer phone call.
How do you make this work?
Companies are experimenting with all the social platforms but Twitter and Facebook seem to be the current leaders for real time engagement and customer service. In our next article we will take a closer look at some best practices for providing excellent customer care through social media.