by Michelle Fernandes
Social media is constantly changing, with new channels popping up all the time and old platforms in continuous development. While it can be daunting to try to keep up, brands shouldn’t shy away from using it as a medium to communicate with customers. As social media platforms develop, organizations need to find new ways to utilize each platform as an effective tool for customer service.
Customer service is evolving beyond faceless contact forms, 1-800 numbers, and extended periods on hold listening to tacky hold music. Today, consumers want an immediate and personal reaction from brands. Consumers want questions answered, issues solved, and complaints addressed in real-time without going through the rabbit hole that is a customer service hotline.
Social media is a perfect tool to stay connected to your customers and current trends affecting your brand. Here are a few reasons to move your customer service to social media:
Chances are the majority of your customers are already on social media. According to the Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, almost half of U.S. consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction, or to complain. The demand for immediate response is increasing and brands are forced to adapt or lose out.
Social media platforms provide real-time response opportunities for any organization, which allows brands to be more proactive when dealing with potential issues and opportunities. A customer that receives a quick response feels that brand understands their urgency and concern. It’s about making meaningful connections.
It’s no surprise that customers would rather deal with other people than a faceless directory of corporate hotlines and emails. Social customer service allows your brand to personally address issues. In essence you are humanizing your brand to relate to your customers who will ultimately feel more comfortable that their issues are being understood. Having a two-way conversation allows brands to create a smooth experience from product discovery to product purchase and usability. Showing that you as a brand are willing to communicate and listen can help to create loyalty among your customers, which means long-term users of your brand.
Providing customers with outlets to express satisfaction, issues, and/or complaints can be worrisome for brands but you need to look at the bigger picture. Brand transparency is extremely valuable in order to create sustainable relationships that go beyond single transactions. To do this, brands need to have confidence and not be afraid to open up to consumers. You’re going to get the good, the bad, and the ugly of customer comments, complaints, and issues. It creates opportunities for a brand to step up, speak directly to customers, and fix any issues they may have. Consumers appreciate seeing brands go that extra mile to satisfy customers and address issues with timely solutions. Creating feelings of trust and dedication are the building blocks to sustaining relationships and creating loyal and repeat customers that ultimately become brand ambassadors.
In the end, moving your customer service to a social platform has its challenges but the overall rewards balance it out. Brands need to understand that in order to create feelings of trust and dedication they need to be aware of customer problems and concerns. These issues need to be addressed in a timely, personalized manner. Social media consumers are more likely to talk about their experiences with brands to others, which provides brands with the opportunity to create more substantial relationships with customers while increasing brand awareness in the process.
So why not take the plunge and start learning how consumers feel about your products. You’ll be able to access and proactively respond to opportunities and become a brand that is on point, respectful, and appreciative of its customers.