White good brands have built an excellent social media strategy by running contests on several occasions, and a few thousand or even a million fans cradle on the accounts of these giants. However, since the customer service angle on social media is a major part of the entire social media strategy, it will be interesting to study the same in detail.
I have chalked out the overall customer support strategy of leading brands on Facebook and Twitter, taking these ten brands as examples.
Kind of Queries brands get
White Good Brands usually get queries related to product prices and technical details of products. Samsung gets the most number of queries as well as complaints, since it is one of the leading brands. Since these brands handle a vast range of products, the queries are related to refrigerators, air-conditioners, mobile handsets etc.
Their complaints regarding the products are fairly low as compared to queries, but are nevertheless present. There are instances when users have tweeted with pictures associated with the complaint.
Apart from this, there are also times when product related promotional tweets have backfired.
Neither Samsung nor IFB has responded to any of these tweets.
How often they respondThe social CRM sphere is filled with brands responding with standard templates, as is the case with other industries too. Most responses are made within a day or two, with LG India, Panasonic, and IFB being exceptions. They simply choose to ignore user comments or tweets carrying complaints.
Infact, LG India has not even opened up their wall to user posting. However, customers have found a way to interact through comments.
Currently, these brands do not operate on social media for customer support. I noticed that queries or complaints are not answered on the go, but a bunch of them are responded to at a specific time. So whether a user has posted a question 10 hours ago or 1 hour ago, if the admin is online he/she will pick all together and reply to them within one particular time frame.
If brand managers think that this is the right way to do it, I don’t agree. Since social media has come to be known as an instant response channel, brands can no longer fit in a convenient time to respond. They need to do so on the go, almost realtime!
What is their first response?
While Sony India has replied to the query with the exact price and even provided a link for the user to get more details, Whirlpool India has simply posted the link. This puts Sony India’s customer support strategy on Social Media in a superior position than Whirlpool. Though this is a very small part of customer support strategy, the point I am trying to make is brands need to discard their habit of avoiding direct responses on Facebook or Twitter.
As seen in many cases, white good brands stick to standard template lines and they should realize that users are smart enough to distinguish this invariable behavior, owing to such responses on a continuous basis.
For instance, if you look at the Facebook comment trail below, you will find no clarification from LG about the delay in response. They have simply forwarded the complaint, which is not what the customer is looking for. The brand would have been able to understand this gentleman’s angst better, if at all, had they given customer service any serious thought.
One player who stands out with a good customer support strategy is Voltas. Though Voltas is not present on Twitter, they have an excellent support approach on Facebook. This is surprising because they are new to Facebook with a small community size in comparison with other giant sized user base brands. It seems that Voltas has joined the social media bandwagon specifically for customer support considering the fact that not many product based posts have been put up.
Their overall approach to customer support on social media
White good brands are being besieged with fairly positive sentiments on Social Media unlike other industries that have complaints pouring in on social platforms. Users seem to love these brands and mostly have polite words to say while posting customer service queries or complaints. Sony India is high in terms of popularity.
I came across a tweet by a well known Twitter influencer about LG India and the subsequent reply it attracted. However, suprisingly LG India did not bother to reply to this tweet. The influencer mentioned #ad in the tweet which meant it was sponsored. What surprised me was that a brand is ready to pay for a tweet ad, but does not bother to respond to a potential customer when he shares a query.
Their average turnaround time in resolving the issue
The only brand to close a complaint on social media among other white good brands is Voltas. Voltas is doing a good job and the average turnaround time in resolving the issue is 3-4 days.
In the image below, Voltas has successfully turned an unsatisfied customer into a happy one within 5 days of the complaint being registered. This has instilled a security in the mind of not only that particular customer but also others who have seen these comments.
Another customer below posted a complaint calling their products “the worst products,” but the post ended on a happy note, with the customer thanking the brand. Voltas has clearly taken advantage of the fact that Social Media is a public platform.
How to improve customer support over social medium
White good brands thrive on technology within their product lines, and there is no better stratagem for them to adopt than the same ideology within their operations as well. Since these brands have a huge fan following and big community sizes, it is only feasible to benefit from tools to track, measure, and then offer impeccable customer service online.
Scaling customer support can also be done by focusing on generating trusted content like equipping the customer with knowledge on how to take care of their products, why products malfunction or act a certain way at times, and a series of content can be built on explaining to the user different processes in simple language.
Apart from being swift and trained in personal communication, customer care executives handling concerns on social media should be pro active and ask customers for feedback and schedule monthly surveys to check customer satisfaction levels.
Expert View by Jayanta Bhattacharjee, Marketing Manager, India, SAARC and Middle East at Aspect Software – A leading provider of fully-integrated customer interaction management, workforce optimization, and back-office solutions.
It’s imperative for brands to give paramount importance to full circle social media customer interactions and actively mark their presence across on all channels. This will help them maximize their reach and penetrate deeper into the market. However it will not be wise to approach this goal without befitting management tools.
Brands will need go beyond social monitoring and ad-hoc responses and provide better ways to respond to the social consumer consistent with contact center best practices, by embracing customer relationship management tools which eases the task to delegate conversations among a team of online customer support executives.
It is therefore vital for leading brands who witness a high flow of incoming queries and complaints on social media to bring back the discipline of their contact centre to their social sphere and thereby bring consistency and ordinance in a way other groups – like Marketing – cannot and achieve a more efficient, effective social dialogue.