5 ways social media can help boost customer services

Social media has given today’s customers a voice. If they have an issue or query on your company or services, they expect a fast response. Otherwise they are quick to make their opinions public on platforms such as Twitter or Facebook. To keep in control of the situation, enterprises must be adequately equipped to deal with social media queries. In addition, building a social media policy can go a long way to improving the overall customer experience.

1. Adopt a smart social media strategy

Social media takes at least equal billing in customers’ minds along with email and voice for their communications. So if you haven’t got a dedicated social media team, make sure your customer service agents are able to deal with social media queries quickly and effectively.

Café chain Pret a Manger serves 300,000 customers a day and builds customer loyalty on social media. Julia Munro, head of social media and PR at Pret a Manger said at Retail Business Technology Expo that “if you don’t respond to people they are not going to like you very much”. Social media is now its main marketing channel beyond its stores and its website integrates social media functionality, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2. Treat your customers like the real people they are

Allow your customer service agents to have a personality and speak in the customer’s own language. Remember, they are more likely to recommend a brand and spend more if they have a positive, personal experience. This isn’t just relevant for business-to-consumer markets. According to research by IDC, business-to-business buyers most active in using social media to support the buying process are more senior and have 84% bigger budgets, making 61% more purchasing decisions.

3. Use social media to actively engage with your clients 24/7

While social media gives unhappy customers a global voice, it also provides a way for brands to turn dissatisfied customers into loyal ones. Supermarket chain Waitrose has an integrated approach to Social Customer Care to connect with customers by accepting if there has been an error. This makes them come across as very approachable.

Gartner has found that more than 70% of Social Customer Service organizations operate with specialist agents who only interact with customers via social media. The analyst firm recommends integrating social media into conventional customer service strategy, to better engage with customers across all channels.

4. Customers expect faster response times via social media

Make social media a core component of your customer service strategy and you will also improve agent productivity. Hewlett Packard, for example, made social media a key part of its customer service strategy. In Europe HP’s social media support agents can handle up to 40% more customer per day than its phone agents. The average handle time for Facebook and Twitter is three times quicker than chat and twice as fast as phone support.

5. Always have a crisis management plan in place

Companies may never have to use a social media crisis management plan, but it is prudent to have one in place – particularly if a problem should hit during a busy period such as the festive holidays. Southwest Airlines, for example, used social media to keep users up-to-date with an airline accident within minutes of the incident. By maintaining open, honest communication, Southwest was able to stay in control of the conversation and show that it cared – unlike other airlines that have struggled in similar situations.

Taking the next step

Having a social media presence is no longer enough. Customer service expectations are continually rising and you will be judged on your social performance by customers. The better your social media customer care, the more social traffic can be turned into brand loyalty and sales.

If you would like to find out more about how Orange Business can help you with your social initiatives find out more about Workspaces here.