The Real Value of Social Media Customer Service
Are you ever frustrated with call centre delays, being put on hold, getting cut off, being diverted to several lines before you get to who you need to speak to resolve an issue? How do you feel about talking to the recording that rarely interprets your verbal three word prompt correctly and ends up diverting you to the wrong department for your query? Or even worse, you just can’t get through because they are experiencing above average call volume – that never seems to stop. As the business landscape changes and technology and social media develop, will social media be the new five star standard in customer service delivery? Think that sounds outrageous, think again, it has already started.
Big business are converting more prospects into sales through social media than ever before, online sales in most categories are growing at remarkable rates. Instant response customer service is an expectation and consumers want customer service delivered in their communication landscape. People of all ages are spending more and more time on social media, globally consumers are taking the social experience mobile and predictions are that this shift will surpass all expectations over the next few years.
Brian Solis, author of The End of Business as Usual predicts, “2013 will bring about an expansion in social media beyond a marketing and engagement philosophy to that of oneness. Social media strategy will start to take a more integrated approach where social media becomes an extension of important channel strategies and business functions. It will be driven by a holistic effort where enterprise, business and functional strategies work to accomplish business objectives while meeting the needs and expectations of employees and customers”.
This means business must prepare to have conversations with consumers on their terms.
Social media provides business with the opportunity to demonstrate the professional status of your company or organisation. It is a listening opportunity, a chance to talk with your consumer or potential consumer, and it is an opportunity to engage those who are likely to want or need what you offer. Using social media you can establish a relationship that meets the needs of both parties. You can educate and inform potential buyers and reach a much larger market than traditional marketing platforms in a more personal way.
Conversation is the starting point for that relationship with your customer, it is one of the most natural ways of building a relationship. The increased use of social media by consumers over the past few years paved the way for a logical shift that brings a value add to the customer conversation and relationship. Social media conversation allows you the opportunity to reach more customers faster and more affordably than ever before. A conversation with one customer on your Facebook page will in all probability respond to similar questions from many customers therefore you are not conversing with one customer, you are problem solving or providing valuable information that may be the deciding factor in your company being a trusted brand to many potential and existing customers.
A recent article by sellingpower.com states; “A prospect turns into a lead when you start a real conversation with them, great conversation is two-way. The best conversation is an exchange of ideas that benefits both parties. A great sales leader, Gerhard Gschwandtner put it this way: “Ditch the pitch. Co-create with the customer. Make them part of your value chain.”
Brand loyalty is built on trust, trust is established through conversation, and online conversations utilising social media channels such as Facebook creates an immediate opportunity for customer engagement. Responding to consumers in a timely manner on social media demonstrates that you are open and an accessible.
Remi Carlioz, senior head of digital at PUMA, is blunt and to the point in his article on Digiday, “It is undoubtedly necessary to find and engage with people where they digitally reside, rather than relentlessly, always trying to usher them back to a brand’s owned platform. Brands are too self-centered and must boldly act on the desire that the consumer possesses; the desire to transparently experience and interact with a brand online.
By Gail Worthington-Eyre