Social Customer Care

social customer careSocial customer care or social care; when customer care goes social

Brands and companies have been slow embracing social customer care and even trail blazers have had mixed overall results, one of the main reason being that customer service and customer satisfaction is often times lip service rather than a core corporate value.

Did you know that :

  • 80% of companies say they are good at customer service, but only 8% of their customers agree.
  • Only 5% of unhappy customers complain in a way brands can find it. The other 95% just disappear (often to competitors).
  • 40% of customers who complain on social media expect a response within an hour, but the average response time of brands which respond at all is five hours.
  • Brands spend $500 billion on marketing every year, but only $9 billion on customer service!

Why is that? 

Brands have become experts at isolating themselves from customer complaints and issue.  For the past decade companies and brands have removed contact information (be it phone numbers or email addresses) from websites and hidden behind FAQs and a maze of links in the customer “service” part of their website.
A lot of them have also taken the same approach to their social media presence, either not responding to requests, removing negative comments or simply removing the option for followers and customers to comment all together
In doing so they are cutting themselves off from precious resources and feed back, free R&D and opportunities to improve product, service, reputation , sales and profit
According to Jay Baer, answering customer service complaints increases customer advocacy by 25%, while not answering decreases it by a whopping 45%.  According to Jay, most social media complainers are looking for “group empathy” rather than an answer, so responding “blows their mind”

 

Unfortunately, most companies failing at social media customer service usually also fail at customer service in other channels as well, it’s really hard to be good at social customer service if you are bad at customer service in traditional channels.
Customer service goes to the core of a company or brand, it goes to the very culture of a company.  It’s not to say that you can’t be good at social customer service if you are bad at doing it in traditional channels, Frank Eliason and his small dedicated social customer care team proved it at Comcast but it’s the exception rather than the rule.
So, what should you do?
  • Make sure your culture is customer service and customer satisfaction focused
  • Stop hiding, open your comments and give customers and prospects several ways to reach you on your website (and I mean real ways, where a real person will interact with them)
  • Support your customer service team, identify your heroes and replicate them
  • Only use your heroes for social customer service
  • Embrace complaints
  • When contacted on social media or traditional channels, be emphatic, truly, do not fake it, it will come back to haunt you
  • Respond quickly to social customer care contacts, identify the issue, apologize (sincerely) interact with the customer, that will show to other viewers that you are responsive and take ownership of the issue and customers as well as prospects prefer to interact with other people, not read endless pages of FAQs
  • Personalize, use the customer’s name, let your customer service representatives use their first name
  • Give the complaining customer a way to reach you; phone is preferable to email
  • Commit to solve the problem then solve it, create a great customer experience whether it’s a customer or a prospect
  • Take advantage of the free R&D and fix the issues with your product and/or service.  No amount of marketing will fix your problems, fix your issues first, the rest will flow

What’s in it for you?

  • According to a McKinsey study, brands see a 19% increase in customer satisfaction and 18% increased opportunity for sales
  • Technology consumers who get a response from customer service are 84% more favorable to brand
  • Brands see a 19% increase in customer satisfaction and 18% increased opportunity for sales
  • Respond and respond quickly, and customers will be willing to spend more with your brand.
  • You will get free R&D
  • You will create “evangelists”, raving fans who will spread the good word. Paraphrasing Scott Monty (previously Global digital communication manager at Ford motor Company) it’s a lot more difficult to get others to talk about your brand or company, it’s also a lot more powerful and credible.
  • Embracing complaints leads to sales opportunities

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