It is an undeniable fact that most people prefer to use social media for marketing their brands. But a lot of them overlook the fact that social media can also be an effective channel for customer support. While competitors outrun another for customer loyalty through innumerable offers and price cut downs, I wonder why are they ignoring the most popular channel of communication today.
They tend to forget that social media is a communication channel where people do voice their complains and queries instead of merely consuming marketing content. Let me take you through some important reasons on why brands should immediately embrace the process of customer support strongly on social media:
Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
There is more to customer service than meets the eye. Customer service is not just addressing issues of your customers. It is a means to satisfy them and earn their loyalty. A customer's loyalty to a brand depends a lot on how the brand listens to them and addresses their concerns.
Their willingness to satisfy the customer creates a positive impression in the mind of the grieving customer. However, ignoring customer concerns and dissatisfying them can lead to them switching over to your competitors. As you can see below, the person ported to Vodafone since his complaints were unresolved.
This attrition can only be thwarted if you address their issues at the earliest. Social media gives you an opportunity to reach out to your aggrevied customers at the earliest so they have a positive experience with your brand. This positive experience, in turn, ensures their loyalty.
Social Media is Viral in Nature:
By its very nature, social media is sharable. Friends, friends of friends and families get into conversations, driving interaction about a certain topic and sharing it on various social media platforms. And at times, such topics become viral in nature. And more often than not, brands get caught in a negative buzz on social media.
A small complaint goes unnoticed and before the brand can realize, everyone in the world is talking about it. Who can forget the Audi crisis that spread like wildfire because of an influencer in the social media ecosystem! Vishal Gondal, an Audi owner left his car in the garage only to find it speeding across the streets of Mumbai. What was next! A discussion on social media that the brand could not control!
After 3 long hours the brand replied, losing out on effective social media customer service. On the other hand, BMW was socially savvy to take the opportunity to offer Vishal Gondal a mini cooper as a comfort car for a few days.
If they had a customer support backup ready on Facebook or Twitter, the luxury brand would not have managed to tarnish its image. Tracking your digital discussions and getting your customer support team to join together in this, will ensure that negative talk does not go viral while positive talk does.
Whether you're online or not, people will talk about you
Ignoring social media does not mean people are not talking about your brand there. Conversations go on regardless of your presence. Stirring up negative talk on social media is hot. People love to complain, knowing that there are a bunch of friends they are spreading the message to.
Not having an online presence is more harmful since you are not even aware of whats buzzing. For example HDFC bank hardly addresses customer issues. However, talks are doing the rounds about its poor service and I wonder if the brand is even aware of it.
Another example that we can look at is Beam Fiber. The brand has simply abandoned addressing customer issues on its Facebook page.
Social Media is the Most Convenient Way for People to Complain Today
Getting on a call and dialling the IVRS can be the most horrific experiences for people. Most of the times, the caller is kept waiting for hours which results into a frustrating experience for him/her. In comparison, logging onto social media and tweeting a complaint is much easier and a faster process.
As you can see, Airtel users are more inclined towards complaining on social media. They don't want to go through the painful process of calling a helpline number. This can be also be looked upon as an advantage by the brands since quick redressal of issues on a platform of customer's choice will definitely make them happy. Moreover, using technology to help you address customer issues will ensure that it gets resolved faster.
Customers understand the power of social networks more than brands do
Whether we like it or not, the amount of control that brands can have over conversations on social media channels is practically non-existent. Customers are aware that if brands ignore their requests on voice, email or sms, they can always turn to Facebook or Twitter and vent all their frustration.
Not to mention the fact that they probably have hundreds of online friends who are listening to what they are complaining about. As a brand, you can either stand helpless and stay offline. Or come online and try to communicate with them and negate the entire issue. You don't want to be the talk of the town just because a customer (with hundreds of online friends) had a small issue that you couldn't resolve.
Social media is cost effective
It is a fact! Social Media has far reaching effects and at the same time is one of the most cost effective methods of marketing. A good tool and a team of a few people can be used to set up customer service for social media. Moreover, it helps you map your customers as well.
Social media gives you a good picture of your customer so as to help you serve him/her better.The wealth of data generated on social media can be a goldmine for a customer response team for they have all the requisite information about the customer before they can go ahead and rectify their problem.
Addressing issues in public can be good for the brand
When you as a brand successfully resolve customer issues on Facebook or Twitter, you can expect the customer to talk positive about you. The more you provide positive experience to people on social media, the more people will talk about you. And as I had mentioned, social media being sharable in nature, more people will come to know about your brand.
For instance a lady complaint on Facebook regarding an unpleasant experience and Jet airways replied within a day. When the user read this, a feeling generated in him/her that the brand addresses public concerns and cares about their customer.
Brands must use social media for customer support considering that today customer convenience lies online. You are in a better position to influence your customer to renew a service, take up an offer and drive social sales.
A fast turnaround process of response to complaints and queries can enhance image building. Addressing angry tweets and bad reviews with quality justification on a public platform will showcase that you care about your customer and are willing to change his/her experience. While you have service centres, galleries, toll free numbers and mail addresses set up, make social a way of life for your brand. For customer satisfaction and loyalty, there is no better place than social media.
A customer communication channel built on social media is bound to create a buzz for your brand. What do you think? Are brands doing a fair job? Is their lack of technology support the reason why they are unable to do an efficient job with customer support on social media? Would love to know your thoughts.