3 Ways Brands Can Improve Social Customer Service
When customers contact brands on social media for support, they're not always getting what they expect. We constantly see stories about airlines, restaurants and other companies going above and beyond when responding to customers' service-related tweets, but these stories seem to be the exception, not the norm.
According to a new survey conducted by management consulting firm The Northridge Group, some customer service channels are meeting customers' basic expectations, but few are exceeding them. The channel with the most significant gap is social media customer service. Overall, consumers rated social media lowest of all channels in resolving their customer service issues.
With social media support not meeting the expectations of one-third of customers, there's lots of room for improvement. Here are three ways brands can do so:
1. Be responsive. From Facebook to Twitter, one thing's for certain: a response is necessary. Currently, a whopping one-third of consumers who contact brands with a customer service question on social media never even get a response. This is surprising, especially given social media's focus as a real-time communication and engagement channel. When customers turn to social media to reach their favorite brands, they expect some kind of acknowledgement or response. They also expect timeliness. Out of those who do get a response, 42 percent expect one within an hour.
For large companies that get hundreds of comments or complaints every minute, it's understandable that providing a timely response is challenging. Similarly, smaller companies may not have a large enough customer service team to meet demand. Regardless of company or customer service team size, determining a reasonable social media strategy and sticking to it is key to keeping customers happy.
2. Be knowledgeable. The only thing that's worse than not receiving a response is receiving one that's incorrect. When customers turn to social media, they're looking for timely issue resolution. A full 26 percent of consumers use social media as their last resort when they can't reach representatives in another channel. Currently, 61 percent of customers have to interact with a company on more than one channel to get their issue resolved, which could be due to inaccurate or inadequate responses.
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