Implementing a strategy to interact with your company’s customers via social media is complex, costly, time-consuming and ever-changing. Despite these hurdles, if your company is ignoring social media or thinking that it can enhance the customer experience without a social media strategy, think again. There is no getting around the fact that implementing a social media strategy consumes energy and resources, but managing your online presence via social media channels requires more than simply signing up for a Facebook or Twitter account.
Your company should be approaching social media as an integral component of your customer support services. As global competition increases, companies need to respond quickly and strategically to evolving marketplaces and rapidly changing customer demands. Fortunately, it is now easier and more affordable to manage and direct your social media presence with a number of proactive and preventative technologies. By implementing such technologies, your company can remain current and relevant regarding customer care.
Social Media—More than just a marketing tool
If your company currently has social media accounts but isn’t coordinating how customer service is delivered across platforms, then you have work to do. A study conducted in 2011 by the social-media analytics company evolve24 and Maritz Research, found that approximately 70% of customer service complaints made on Twitter go unanswered. Establishing your presence on social media is the first step, but not your final one. Delivering customer care via these channels should be the goal.
It is understandable that companies were once reluctant to engage customers via social media as the back-end technology was limited in aiding companies. Today, companies can coordinate their social media presence with management tools offered by the likes of Hootsuite and Sprout Social.
Social media interaction requires a well thought-out plan to manage your customer interaction. Without a plan you can end up hurting your customer relations rather than helping.
Customer care doesn’t happen in a silo
There is no getting around the fact that customer care needs to be delivered across multiple platforms, and companies should look for capabilities across multiple methods of communication. Your customer expects to be able to interact with your company across various channels. In order to contain costs and minimize customer frustration, your company must ensure that technology across all channels are deeply integrated and coordinated to eliminate the need to restate detailed incident information for each interaction. While navigating these multiple channels was a mine-field for customer relations in years past, recent advances in communication technology are helping support providers utilize a mix of channels for customer engagement.
Implement new proactive and preventative technologies
Worried about costs? Don’t worry – there is technology to help you contain expenses as you transition to a multi-channel company. Some of the proactive and preventative options include:
- Self-Service: 60% of consumers use web self-service knowledge to find answers to their questions. It is important to invest time and effort into creating a substantial knowledge base with comprehensible and easily searchable information to meet the needs of this customer category.
- Live-chat: Online chat should be rules driven and prominent. Anticipate when customers might need help and employ a Live-Chat specialist. There are cost savings in implementing Live-Chat, as one customer services rep can handle multiple customers concurrently.
- Surveys and Polls: Engage your customers by asking them to participate and voice their frustrations as well as suggestions. Such polls and surveys can be linked to your social media accounts. Ask your customers what their ideal experience engaging with your company is, and work out solutions to deliver that experience to them.
Delivering excellent customer care is evolving along with technology. In order to drive customer outcomes and success, develop a strategy to coordinate customer care across multiple platforms. Social media is here to stay. Yes, it will change and evolve, but companies can no longer afford to not be in the driver’s seat of their social media presence. Messages and opinions are amplified across social media platforms, and if your company hasn’t yet worked to implement proactive and preventative technologies, it is in your best interest to start now. After all, if you’re not controlling the conversation, your customers will find a way to.
Come see us at the 2014 TSW Service Transformations conference in Las Vegas October 20-22. We'll be at table #27, directly across from the TSIA booth.
About the Author
Jodi is a Marketing and Customer Experience fanatic. Some might say "guru", but she prefers it the other way around, as there’s always something to learn and grow as it relates to Marketing and the Customer Experience, and how each is connected to one another. In the past three years, Jodi has dedicated her career to thought leadership in both realms through her work at MHI Global, and has earned honors as Top 100 Customer Success Influencer from Mindtouch, Top 15 Most Influential Customer Service Experts To Follow on Twitter from GetApp, and Top 50 Contact Center Thought Leader on Twitter from ICMI. Connect with Jodi at Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter; or email her at email@example.com.