It’s almost unfair how much power the average client has over your brand in 2020.
We live in a social media governed world, as what began timidly a decade ago, with people mostly connecting with their friends, evolved into a world-wide Agora.
Today’s social media is a two-way communication channel with potentially millions of people eavesdropping in on your conversations with your customers.
That brings with it both unprecedented opportunities and huge risks. Master the art of social media customer service and you’ll gain more market share. Ignore people online, or respond inadequately and you’ll seriously stain your image.
The reality of doing business today is that everything is, at any moment, on the table. Like a high stakes poker game, you could win big or you could lose big with every hand being dealt.
The key to success is, as always, to be on top of the public’s perception of your brand. In 2020, that translates largely into being on top of your social media client service game. Or, what we call here at Social Boards, being on top of “The good, the bad, and the ugly”.
Let’s dive right in and unravel the best social media strategy for your business.
Why do more and more brands look at social media as their main customer service channel?
The short, easy answer?
Because one, that’s where most clients choose to interact with companies, and two, because when almost all products and services become a commodity, the quality of your connection to your clients is what makes or breaks your business.
Numbers paint the picture clearly:
- 90% of social media users communicated with businesses through social media
- 71% of people that have experienced good client service from a brand over social media are likely to recommend it to friends or family, and 70% of those helped via social media will become return buyers.
- 63% of customers feel all businesses must offer client service through social media
- 54% of social browsers use social media to research products
Consumers are spoiled for choice, so they’ll do business with the brands that offer more than goods and services. Clients in 2020 and beyond also expect a positive experience. As empathy takes to the mainstream, this process often involves third parties. If consumers see brands mistreating other clients or ignoring them (1 in 3 social media complaints will be completely ignored), they’ll take their business someplace else.
Where even benevolent businesses crash and burn
Most business owners, though, are already convinced of the importance of providing impeccable social media client service. But even then, many fall short of their target. How? By not knowing what the modern client’s expectations are.
Because they’ve changed. Tremendously.
While 80% of online-operating companies believe they’re excellent at social media customer service, a measly 8% of their clients agree. That is an extraordinary gap in perception.
And it doesn’t end here.
The most telling statistic is that 42% of customers that used social media to contact a company, expect a response within an hour of their post or message. 32% expect a response within 30 minutes.
Compare that to the 5-hour average businesses need to get back to people on social media, and again it’s like companies and clients speak different languages.
Time is of the essence, and there’s a tremendous disparity between what clients expect and what most brands deliver.
“Ok, I’ll get to that complaint a bit later” is NOT an option. In 2020, it’s vital that you don’t disappoint first and worry about impressing later.
One vital piece of information to consider is that many people take to social media as a secondary means of contacting your company. Sure, in the words of Michael Caine, “some men just want to watch the world burn” and they attack the first chance they get. But most tried emailing you or phoning into no avail so now their only option is to go public. Especially if they’re frustrated or angered.
With everybody watching, it would be business suicide to leave emotional responses unattended.
Another hard expectation to mediate is that clients look at social media channels as always ON. Nobody expects an answer if they call your business number at 9 PM. But, if they write something on your Facebook page, they want a prompt response. Even at late hours of the night. Unfair? Maybe, but that’s not going to change anyone’s expectations.
Untying these knots is a matter of having the right software on your side. Speaking of which…
Transform social media into your business’s champion
Automation solves many of your social media client service problems. Even a simple acknowledgment of contact with a promise to take care of their request first thing in the morning goes a long way.
Then, you need a way to keep track of those promises and alert your employees about each and every single one of them. Having a tracking system to see who contacted you first and who’s dealing with their ticket is even better.
A perfect solution includes all the following:
- Every ticket is accounted under one roof – phenomenal time-saver, especially if you have multiple accounts on multiple platforms to manage
- You can assign specific employees for every ticket – accountability gets things done
- There are internal communication channels between all departments – some requests or complaints need multiple skills to pacify
- Provide context – having the customer’s details at hand before you contact them saves time and keeps their frustration to a minimum (nobody wants to give you their personal information every time they get contacted or repeat the same story over and over again)
- Keep tickets in chronological and importance order – some queries are far more urgent than others
Social media customer service is the epitome of a two-edged sword. Use it wisely and you can build customer loyalty, increase consumer trust to win more of them over, and create a resource library of important answers all other queries can be referred to.
In simple words, you get to keep the clients you have, win new ones over, and waste as little resources possible on dealing with complaints and informational inquiries. A win-win-win.
Ignore its potential and you risk the wrath of not individual clients but of client clusters that grow bigger every day.
No matter where you’re best equipped to provide customer service right now, the majority of your clients will demand it through social media. Fewer and fewer people will call to ask a question or file a complaint. Fewer still will visit your physical location just to initiate a conversation.
The conversation between customers and businesses moved largely online, where everyone is watching to see how you respond. Many online bystanders will take your actions personally and feel either proud or wronged by how you behave, even if it doesn’t directly involve them.
Adapt and thrive or you will bury your business sooner than you imagine.