- Content marketing
When most marketers and business owners think about the advantages of social media for their business, they think about attracting new customers. Thankfully, more and more brands are focussing on relationship building with their followers, rather than just sharing content. However, I was quite surprised when I read this article from Bufferapp, saying that only 1 in 5 surveyed businesses used their social channels for customer service.
As a New Media & Digital Culture grad, my mantra in online marketing is ‘meet your audience where it wants to meet you’. Social media is the preferred channel for millennials, and it’s growing in popularity for older groups, too. I’ve found this in my own experiences as a community manager - more often than not, people contact the brand through its social channels first before contacting customer services.
With that in mind, here are my 5 reasons brands should use social media as a customer service portal:
1. Using social media as a customer service portal is easy
One of the biggest issues businesses will likely have, is “Another channel to monitor, I don’t have the time/money for that!” The fact is, most helpdesk tools have social integration these days. I worked with Zendesk for a while, which has perfect integration with social channels like Twitter and Facebook, and even offers integration of Social Media management platform Sprout Social. And Zendesk is not the only Help Desk software that offers social integration - almost all major ones do.
2. Using your social channels to reply to customers is fast
One of the most useful elements of social media is its speed - at least, that’s what most customers believe. The second someone posts to your Facebook wall, a notification pops up. However, the belief that social media promises a faster response to inquiries isn’t necessarily true - it also depends on the volume of requests and the complexity of the issue. But what it does provide is convenience. By adding customer service to your social media channels, you take out a big part of the funnel for your customers - and in that sense, it's both fast and efficient.
3. Using your social channels as a way to deal with customers gives them a more personal touch
As I’ve already said, I believe that people meet the brand where they want to meet it. Social sites such as Twitter and Facebook provide a very public platform and the easy access to organisations that modern consumers crave, so it’s not a surprise that social media is becoming an essential component of customer service strategies. Unlike a phone call, social media allows you to think carefully about your response and, unlike email, present it in a more casual, conversational tone. This way, you can retain your brand voice while writing and communicating like a human, thus humanising your brand.
4. The conversation is public
Obviously, I’m not talking about PMs and DMs here. For customers, posting out in the open is about justification - especially when they’re upset. They want to be heard, and posting on social media is the perfect way to be heard. By giving your customers the opportunity to make their complaints or ask questions in public, you’re giving them an immediate outlet and the feeling of being in control.
For businesses, transparency means that other potential customers get to see how well you handle the situation. I personally believe this is also a perfect way to assess your own customer service: are you happy with the reply being seen by hundreds/thousands of people? If not, you’re probably not providing the best possible care.
5. You’re creating more brand mentions
Even when customers come to you with an issue, your brand will get visibility and an opportunity to showcase your ability to provide a solution. Where relevant, you can link bank to your brand’s website for more information. Whether your conversation is positive or negative, you are encouraging more engagement and brand mentions, which is an added bonus for your SEO. When you do it well, your reach will increase as well: according to this article from Buffer, 71% of customers who experience a quick and effective brand response to their support requests on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19% of those that don’t receive any response.
There are many more reasons that customer service belongs on your social channels. Yes it brings risks but, done right, dealing with negative experiences in plain sight has a positive impact on brand perception both for the customer involved and those others that are watching.
Any comments or questions?
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