Social Media and the changing face of Customer Service
Over the past few years, social media has single handedly turned the customer experience on its head. The digital world has completely changed expectations surrounding rates of engagement by brands and businesses, and in order to succeed they need to recognise and accommodate the changing needs of their customers...
Because of social media, customers have rapidly crossed over from passive to actively engaged consumers. Social networking is now a one-stop shop that allows users to discover and engage with new brands, products and businesses. A brand’s page is the first place that a consumer will go to whenever they have something to say about a product or service, be that positive or negative.
The accessibility of brands on social media can only be seen as a positive for users and brands alike as it shows no sign of slowing or changing, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t present some potentially difficult issues.
Social media dialogues are completely open
By its very nature social media is a completely open and accessible platform. Customers are able to direct their praises or concerns via a private message to the business concerned; however in most cases this is un-favoured. Most users favour posting openly so that their, and indeed the business’s, network can see what they have to say. This means that any and all testimonies can be seen and analysed by both current and potential new customers.
Although social media sites, particularly Twitter and Facebook, have primarily become prominent digital marketing and advertising avenues for businesses, they are also incredibly important for customer service. The reality is that as social media usage grows, so to does users’ demand for customer care via these channels. In order to meet this demand brands need to be active in providing adequate and progressive responses to their customer’s concerns.
Businesses need to be available with open ears
In order to meet this new demand for customer service, businesses need to identify and analyse where their customers are. They then need to be as accessible as possible on those networks and efficiently respond to queries. Negative reviews and complaints that are left unanswered can seriously harm a credible brand’s reputation among their network. Businesses are becoming aware that social media, as a platform that facilitates campaigning, has the ability to take one user’s issue and uncover similar instances from others. In that sense, complaints on social media can escalate astronomically at an astonishing rate.
Social media calls for more investment in customer service; and that isn’t a bad thing
For bigger companies, the challenge can be sifting through a high rate of queries on their social channel and prioritising those that require immediate responses. As a general rule, negative mentions need to be prioritised and dealt with in a timely matter. Doing so not only helps a business, it can also have a positive impact on how a brand is viewed by its network. Brands need to be human and provide value on social media, and those that openly show that they care for their customers are often the most successful.