Customer Service is undergoing a major evolution, with online communication moving away from private, anonymous, one-to-one channels toward public one-to-many channels that are mobile, social, and attached to real identity. In brief, social media is changing the entire business of customer service, posing great challenges and presenting new opportunities for brands. In the midst of this seismic shift, though, it’s important to remember that the core principles of great customer service still apply.
Quality customer service — regardless of channel — relies on a meaningful dialogue between brands and their customers. That being said, the growing preference for social media as a preferred channel requires your organization to re-think its customer service strategy. You need to adopt a Social First approach.
Let’s start with some context: 5 Facts about Social Customer Care
Social customer care is quickly becoming a standard offering in the contact center world. The evidence is overwhelming. Consider these statistics:
- Twitter reports that customer service interactions have increased 250% in the last two years.
- Top brands respond to customer service requests on Twitter in just minutes, while the worst take hours, if not days.
- 60% of customers expect companies to respond within the hour. The average response time ranges from 1-5 hours.
- Twitter and Facebook are more accurate and faster at delivering customer service responses than email (48% and 44% more successful respectively).
- Customer service response time by brands actively using the channel has improved by 13% on Facebook in the past year. Yet almost 90% of customer Facebook comments are ignored.
The most anticipated trend for 2017 is the use of bots, but…
There is no way to talk about 2017 and customer service without mentioning bots. And as 2017 unfolds, you will certainly see continued adoption of bots to handle the easy and predictable. Beyond that, expect this to be the year bot makers continue to make huge strides at improving the AI that powers them, but not being ready for primetime.
So, what is the new trend?
The point is, social media is all about user behavior and custom. And 2016 has increasingly shifted everyone towards the use of snaps & stories. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook have thought us the concept of ephemeral videos. Well, users learned this concept so well that are now applying it to social customer care. How? Let me show you an example…
That’s exactly how you want customer service to be: simple and immediate. Why would you spend time writing an email? It’s much faster to take a picture or a video of what’s not working, and share it on Instagram/Snapchat (sending it to the brand or @-mentioning it). Wow. Now, try not to pass out (especially if one of your performance metric is customer satisfaction) and think about implication & impacts:
- It’s ephemeral, so regardless of your SLA you have 24 our to reply to this request. Or, you might have lost a conversion, maybe a customer. Clock is ticking…
- It might be public, that means other potential customers can see that. And this is not good for your brand image. Clock is ticking even faster…
- It’s an image, that your AI/bots probably won’t be able to process, at least not today. You’ll need an authentic human to deal with this.
Is this Marketing’s Job?
Traditionally, the task of monitoring and managing social media falls to the marketing department. It has been perceived as yet another platform to build brand awareness, advertise products and services, and share entertaining and informative insights to a wide network of potential customers.
But the reality is that social media has grown into a full-fledged customer service channel, with 47% of social users reporting that they’ve used it for interacting with customer care profiles. Despite this large-scale adoption, companies are lagging behind. Leaving social platforms under the responsibility of the marketing team means that users who are seeking customer service through these tools aren’t being heard. In fact, Twitter reports that only 9% of their users who’ve reached out to a brand on Twitter have heard back from the company.
It’s your contact center team that knows how to address issue resolution, deliver optimal customer experience strategy, and respond to customer complaints. They’re the ones who know how to forecast and schedule support on a 24/7 basis, while providing a customer support workflow process that best facilitates issue resolution. They’re the ones who are measured on metrics like Average Speed of Answer and First Touch Resolution – metrics that matter in social as much as voice or email.
Ok, let’s turn the challenge into an opportunity
First-thing-first. This is a brand new trend I’ve noticed in the last week. It might not be your priority #1 item, but it’s definitely something you want be mindful of.
Second, the question of whether the responsibility of social media monitoring lies with marketing or contact center teams is not a new issue. However, now more than ever is the time to start answering that question with an honest, data-backed strategy.
While social care may be operationally secluded in many organizations, the pressure from users to seamlessly move from one channel to the next and other departments wanting access to data will continue to rev up in 2017. This will create demand for better integrations between CRM, marketing systems, data aggregators, social networks and third party software providers.
There is no company that serves all of these functions in a great way, so you might have found something to talk about in 2017…
Let me know what you guys think in the comment. And if you’re into vegan food check out @sweet_kabocha AKA TheBlueBride.com for some great recipes.