The customer service landscape is an ever-changing one, with new trends and best practices constantly influencing the industry.
Modern customers have moved away from the private, one-to-one support channel of old where an individual would call customer support, have their problems passed to the appropriate department, and so forth. With the rise of social media, customers are now using online platforms to voice their concerns—or anything about your brand in general.
An example of social customer care in action with JetBlue
Social media has transformed how businesses operate and that includes customer care. This has brought forward new challenges and at the same time, even greater opportunities for brands to inch towards paramount business goals. Brands that are slow to adapt to this digital shift will fall behind proactive rivals, regardless of how big or established they are.
This is why your brand needs to strengthen its social customer care efforts to succeed in tomorrow’s social media-driven future. Here’s what you need to do to meet this objective.
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Social customer care is defined as the service customers receive from brands through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Instead of picking up the phone, customers can mention a brand or send them a direct message to express their feelings. An example of a brand with strong social customer care is Nike with its dedicated Twitter support team.
Nike’s dedicated Twitter support handle
There are no differences in terms of how customer expectations are dealt with between social customer care and traditional support channels—the interactions simply exist on different online channels depending on your niche. Respond well frequently and you’ll delight your customers. Do otherwise and you’ll get a bad rep in no time.
Social customer care is broken down into two categories: reactive and proactive care. Reactive customer care is when brands act in response to their customers’ actions. For example, a customer might leave a review on TripAdvisor, to which the brand replies depending on the context of the review.
Reactive responses can also apply to positive feedback. If a customer leaves a nice message for your brand, thanking him or her goes a long way in building customer happiness and improving your brand’s reputation in the industry. As long as you respond the right way on time, nothing can go wrong with reactive customer care.
Proactive customer care involves creating relevant content for your target audience. A social media tool provider may create ultimate guides for digital marketing topics. A printer manufacturer may invest in a knowledge base to aid with printer installations. A restaurant may share 1-minute recipe videos on Instagram and Twitter.
The more connected and engaging your content is to your target audience, the better your proactive care performance will be. The reason why proactive care works is because content is critical in delivering excellent customer experience. Customers today use Google to find solutions to their problems. If you can create a resource to solve their problems, they’ll appreciate your brand highly—you may even gain new customers along the way!
Good customer experience is the cornerstone of any successful organization. Brand loyalty, sales, acquisition costs, retention rates—all these vital business metrics depend on strong customer experience to drive results. Amazon, for example, would struggle to maintain its billion-dollar operations without effective customer care.
Social customer care also influences people who are not your customers. Treating your current customers well sends to prospects that you care deeply about them and are active in alleviating their concerns. Imagine yourself as a buyer and you come across two brands on Twitter. One is always replying to customer tweets while the other is inactive. Which brand would you be more interested to work with?
This phenomenon has been reported extensively by stats and studies in the customer experience space, proving the relevance of good social customer care. A Microsoft-endorsed survey found that 96% of buyers say customer service is the most important factor in driving purchases and brand loyalty. Companies focusing on customer experience also have 1.9x higher average order value, 1.7x higher customer retention and 1.9x ROI on average, according to Forrester.
The importance of customer experience in today’s digital landscape
These numbers prove why social customer care is important for your brand. The burning question is, what are the strategies and actions you can take to achieve improve your brand’s customer care moving forward?
To meet the demands of social media, your team must first embrace a culture that allows them to do so. Traditional customer agents are not well-equipped (yet) to excel in social media. So, it’s important to prepare them through training and constant exposure to social customer care.
Even after team members are trained, it’s important to keep improving your social customer care through new journeys that allow them to keep with changing social media trends. Do note that everyone can benefit from this knowledge, from C-suite members to mid-level staff and even teams outside of customer support.
The goal is to create a culture in your company where maintaining customer happiness is a top priority. It should be instilled in your processes, not introduced by force which will only upset the current work environment of your organization. Extend this culture by revamping your hiring processes to target talents who understand the importance of customer care, regardless of the position they’re aiming for.
One of the worst actions you can do in customer care is to send canned responses to customers. Automated replies may work for some cases, but using it for every mention is a recipe for disaster.
Guide your team to spend time on crafting personalized responses. This will also paint your brand in good light for prospective customers since people will be impressed by your team’s commitment to solving customer concerns. For best results, use first-person grammar to make your replies feel more authentic and personal.
Try to address every comment you see. Some brands make the mistake of only responding to crises or mentions from big names (e.g. celebrities) which alienates the majority of your customers. Responding frequently makes your users feel valued and important—two priceless benefits to have in business.
Proactive responses are also part and parcel of excellent customer care strategies. Publish helpful content on a consistent schedule to provide value to customers. YouTube is another great platform to establish proactive content. You can put out podcasts, bite-sized videos, and even full series à la HubSpot’s digital marketing playlist.
Don’t wait to respond to customers on social media. Instead, establish a benchmark for support teams. Rather than taking days to reply, set a minimum requirement of perhaps 5 to 10 minute response times for all customer comments. The faster you respond, the more customers will fall in love with your brand. In fact, 71% of consumers believe quick responses set businesses apart from one another in terms of customer experience.
The question is, how do you manage such high customer expectations? You can hire more team members or schedule longer hours for existing employees. But, it’s going to eat up costs and demotivate employees due to long working hours—this is where technology matters.
Social listening tools like Lucidya send alerts whenever your brand is mentioned. This reduces manual question detection work which allows your team to focus on strategic tasks and in this case, resolving customer concerns. Automation is particularly useful for enterprises since they have larger userbases compared to startups or SMEs.
An example of Lucidya’s social media alerts feature
Following the point above, using the right tools is a must to enable efficient social customer care. Tracking mentions, customer comments, detecting PR disasters—all these can be identified quickly with a social listening tool so your team spends less time searching, more on high-value work.
A good social listening tool should comprise of the following customer care features:
Brand mention detection: The tool must be able to collect customer mentions from every social media platform. It should also detect relevant conversations that don’t mention your brand name. Alert features should be available for detecting opportunities and preventing crises.
In-depth, real-time analytics: Raw data is not enough to boost your social customer care. The tool should analyze and interpret data to allow you to make actionable, informed decisions. IT should also show results from previous timelines for benchmarking.
Integration: Your tool of choice must be able to integrate with your CRM software and other business tools like Excel. This allows data to be funneled and utilized in other business areas, further benefiting your brand’s customer care performance.
Lucidya is an example of a social listening tool that meets the requirements above along with various valuable features—including influencer marketing, sentiment analysis, and campaign measurement—to improve your marketing results. Here’s why you should work with us.
Lucidya’s advanced customer mention detection features
Lucidya is an AI-powered social media listening tool that empowers companies operating in Arabic-speaking countries with in-depth, never-before-seen customer insights. With Lucidya, businesses can build profitable products, boost customer satisfaction, execute successful campaigns, and close more sales thanks to our extensive list of social media listening features.
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