Kushal Arora, Sr. Manager – Knowledge and Marketing, Germin8 recaps the Social customer service trends seen in 2017 and how they can be used to build a fresh strategy for this year.
Calling social customer service as important is an understatement. It deserves all the literature written about it because it impacts a brand’s revenue and reputation. It is this impact which causes brands to constantly work and refine their customer service strategy for social media.
In 2017, certain trends were increasingly observed across brands – domestic and global. Trends which ensured optimum utilization of social media as a customer support channel. As we begin 2018, let’s recap those trends and chart our social customer service plan with these milestones in mind.
These have been immensely helpful for customer service teams worldwide. Their presence has made possible quite a few feats. The ability to converse with customers regardless of the time of day and issuing instant resolution to general queries posed by customers are examples of aforementioned feats. Additionally, advancements in AI are ensuring that chatbots become more fluent in their communication and understanding of human emotions.
- Advanced Analytics
Investments in people, process and systems aren’t enough to excel in social customer care. Brands need efficient teams. This is what led to the need of proper analytics to track the efficiency and performance of online response teams. Gauging response rates, response times, and response count at a team and at an individual agent level helps measure a team’s efficiency. It also leads to identify bigger issues, such as whether the team is under-staffed or over-staffed.
- Personalized approach
The brands which excel at customer service on social media have one commonality. Their response agents treat each customer interaction as new, based on which they tailor their comments and tone. An excellent example of such an interaction can be seen in a conversation which the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had with one flier.
In that case, the response agent took the effort to make a reference to third-party brand (the popular MMORPG game World of Warcraft) which the customer was an avid fan of. Such a strategy helps keep a customer calm and potentially strike an emotional chord. In fact, such interactions can help make memorable experience for customers, which ensure their continued loyalty towards a brand.
- Quick responses
We are living in a pro-customer era, adding more gravity to the adage of the customer always being right. As customers have a variety of service and products to choose from, their expectations have gone up. This is especially evident at the speed in which they expect brands to address their queries. While a turnaround time of 1 hour was reasonable till a while back, more brands are being forced to adapt to a new benchmark i.e. 15 minutes. Despite its inherent difficulty, there are brands which have achieved it. This leaves the remaining brands to adapt to this right now or be forced to play the catch-up game in the future.
For instance, let’s look at how quickly Swiggy’s customer care handle on Twitter responds to users online. In a span of 8 minutes, Swiggy responded to an aggrieved customer. A quick response surely incites trust from a customer in a brand’s ability to resolve their concern.
- Need for closures
Some brands prefer to resolve customer grievances published on social media through offline measures i.e. private messages, emails or phone calls. While this strategy is helpful in certain scenarios, it results in a customer’s query on social media appearing as abandoned and incomplete. For new and potential customers of a brand, such cases can sap the trust they have in a brand’s ability to resolve their concerns. This is why it is important to post closure messages to a user’s concerns online, even in cases where it is being taken offline for resolution. A good example of this practice can be seen in how JetBlue airways manage their social customer care.
This peculiar customer had complained about broken in-seat screen. JetBlue not only offered him a voucher for his inconvenience, alternate seating and an apology, but also asked the user to alert them if his promised voucher didn’t arrive on time. This led to an ideal satisfactory closure, wherein the flier professed his admiration for the brand.
- Extended online presence
Till a few years ago, customer support from 09:00 – 18:00 hours would be sufficient for most brands. However, an increasing volume of customers need round the clock support. Customer conversations are seen at late evening and midnight hours too! This might be due to customers returning from their work and then airing their concerns. However, this is a reminder for brands to plan their social media response staffing in accordance with hourly and daily conversation volume trends.
Flipkart’s social customer care is a good example of being as responsive in night as is in day time. They look about 3 minutes to respond to a customer concern posted at 23:40 hours at night.
- Integration with lead generation or ticketing systems
Imagine this – a social media response agent identifies a lead, and based on their work load, emails it to the sales team either immediately or after some time. Delay in the transmission of that lead can mean a lot to a sales representative, because the lead could have cold in that time! To avoid this pitfall, brands are integrating their social media response tools with their lead generation or ticketing systems. Post integration, a lead received on social media can be transmitted to a sales rep in a matter of minutes. That certainly has a considerable business impact for any brand.