Though social media may have started out as an outlet for interpersonal communication, it has since evolved into something far more relevant and powerful than a portal for showcasing mischievous cat videos. As the digital transformation forges forward, best-in-class companies have realized that analog media is no longer the best way to get their message across to their client base. They have learned that going to where their customers are, and communicating with them using their preferred channels, is the key to ensuring quality customer service.
Nowadays, customers are more empowered than ever before. They have the potential to voice praise and criticism to an eager audience looking for information on the best products and customer service practices. By seizing on the potential that social media has for outreach, a company can completely influence how customers view their brand. In fact, 95% of best-in-class companies have stated that their brand image is largely affected by their customer service team. But a successful social media presence has a number of other perks. Here are a few of them:
1. Financial gain
Best-in-class companies have reported an 81% annual increase in revenue stemming from customer referrals. In addition, their year-over-year growth stands at 6.5% whereas companies not relying on social media have actually witnessed a 1.4% drop.
2. Cost reduction
Companies engaging in social media customer communications have seen a 5.7% drop in customer service costs compared to a 3.3% increase for companies not using social media.
3. Improved response rates
With a 26% decrease in the amount of time it takes to respond to customer requests, compared to a 4.4% increase for companies not using social media, best-in-class companies are excelling at satisfying their customers needs.
4. Large return on marketing investments
Best-in-class companies turning to social media for advertising purposes, have seen a 30.7% increase in their ROI as compared to the minimal 6% increase reported by other companies.
However, simply having a social media presence is not enough. In fact, if poorly managed, it could prove more of a liability than a benefit. Conversations on social media are happening in real-time, and customers expect rapid responses to their questions. Failing to provide timely assistance or solutions could lead to negative feedback. And on social media, this kind of word-of-mouth criticism has the potential to go viral, and substantially affect the positive image other consumers might have of a brand. So a successful social media presence necessitates constant monitoring and prompt reactions. Here are some other ways to ensure that social media success:
Know who you’re dealing with
Effective social media is like any other form of communication: it is just as important, if not more so, to listen as it is to share your own information. So while it is important for brands to provide news about their latest offers and deals, it is absolutely crucial that they listen to what their customers are saying about them across all social media channels. This information not only makes it possible for companies to respond to customer issues and concerns, it also helps them analyze trends to further improve communication. 62% of best-in-class companies are already using these metrics to better the customer experience.
Equip your team
Even the most adept customer service agent does not always have the perfect response. That is why best-in-class companies provide their customer service teams with guidelines and playbooks for addressing complaints. This ensures that customers receive uniform responses from all customer service agents. In addition, these best-in-class companies are 33% more likely to use customer responses on social media to evaluate how well their customer service teams are performing. Based on this feedback, they can provide extra training and also assuage customers’ discontent.
Establish a comprehensive system
Your customer service team needs to see the broad picture. That means that representatives have to know what customers are saying across all channels. This kind of omni-channel approach ensures consistent messaging in customer communications. 86% of best-in-class companies go the extra mile by also using their social media channels to engage directly with their customer base and create meaningful dialogue.
For more information on the benefits to be gained and how to implement a successful social media strategy, refer to: Social Customer Care: Three Steps To Best-In-Class Results
Source: Aberdeen group, “Social Customer Care: Three Steps To Best-In-Class Results”, April 2017