Opinion

Five myths of social customer care

Social customer service is the new frontline. In this guest post Adam Clark breaks down five common misconceptions to help businesses achieve the most out of it.

An entire generation is now maturing in the age of digital. Not only do 80% of internet users own a smartphone, 87% of the millennial generation say it never leaves their side.adam-clark-regional-vp-of-sales-zendesk-anz

From global brands to governments, consumers expect a response that is social, real-time, and mobile.

Businesses delivering social customer care see much bigger financial gains – 7.5% year-on-year growth versus 2.9% without. Despite this, brands are slow to embrace it, or struggle to really allow its benefits to reach their full potential.

Here are five common myths about social customer care to help businesses achieve the most out of it.

closeup folder complaints with business people meeting for improvement corporate image in background.

Myth #1

Social customer service is only about complaints

Complaints aren’t the only type of issue the customer service team need to deal with on social media. They also need to be able to respond to product queries, HR requests and marketing-type messages.

Your customer service team is the ‘face’ of your brand and needs to be able to represent it well – the public nature of social media means that every response counts. Many companies miss out on opportunities to gather feedback for product improvements or engage with prospective customers by having a focus that is too narrow.

Social CRM is about complete customer engagement and to fully offer good support, your teams need to be across what’s happening in the business and trained to address any type of inquiry.

Myth #2

Social customer service reduces negative comments

There is a fear among brands we talk to that if they get into social they’ll open a can of worms they can’t control. But the importance of feedback in improving your business can’t be underestimated. Complaints will happen, but you can choose to treat this as an opportunity to improve your product and service.

Make sure you show appreciation for any feedback and demonstrate how you are taking it on board. You will win back customers that way. It is far worse for brands not to respond – people will still give their negative feedback regardless, but your brand won’t have an opportunity to improve the situation.

Online customer service satisfaction surveyMyth #3

Social CRM is a cost centre

Some businesses fear the investment of time and resources needed to deliver effective social customer care. Instead they ought to look at the return on investment.

According to a ‘Social Customer Care’ report by Aberdeen Group, those without a social customer service strategy lose on profit and brand visibility, not to mention miss out on valuable insights and social selling opportunities.

Social media has radically changed the buyer-seller relationship. Customers expect engagement within hours of asking a question about your product or service.

In today’s sales journey, this is often the key differentiator between a returning customer and a customer who abandons your business. Great customer service on social is your sales department’s best ally. Without it, you lose your competitive edge.

Myth #4

Social customer service is a reactive role

Forrester’s 2016 ‘Transform the contact centre for customer service excellence’ Report found that 89% of customers are frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple representatives.

Unlike voice support and email, social media is a public, two-way channel. Customers shouldn’t have to hunt you down to obtain support or provide feedback, and you certainly shouldn’t wait for a complaint before engaging.

Research by Enkata found that those companies which proactively identify issues and opportunities on social can reduce call volumes by as much as 30%, while increasing customer retention rates from 3-5%.

Research previous customer engagement and feedback across all channels to help you identify topics that keep cropping up.

Are there ways to start a conversation on social that addresses these and prevents customers from having to contact you? CRM tools are the best way to manage multiple customer channels and harvest the right data to help you pre-empt future social inquiries.

Twitter light bulbs bird logoMyth #5

It’s only about Facebook and Twitter

Twitter and Facebook are both relevant as social customer service platforms. However, the truth is that social service has gone beyond them. Brands need to find out which one is relevant to them as a social customer service channel, and to do this you need to know your customer.

Who are they? What social channels do they use most? Are they more inclined to talk at you, about you or not at all? What’s their tone of voice?

Invest your resources into going where your customers want to be and communicate in a way that’s relevant to them.

Social customer service offers a way for customers to have more personal – and faster – conversations with brands.

And for brands to tap into a wealth of information about their audiences. By investing in it, you open the door to better customer experiences and benefit from a competitive differentiator that will significantly grow your business.

Adam Clark is the regional vice president of sales at Zendesk, Australia and New Zealand

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