What’s the State of Social Customer Care in 2016?

by Kim Campbell in Kim Campbell, Social Media Customer Support

In our world, it’s a little bit soul crushing to know that one third of people in the US would choose to clean a toilet over talking with customer service. But it is also a call to action. If the call to customer care is a dreaded and distasteful last resort, how do we adapt and improve the experience?  And the next obvious question is: how does social media impact our practices? With social networks evolving at a breakneck pace, that leads us to the question at the root of this post: what is the state of social customer care in 2016 and beyond?

The 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.

Wondering how to go about improving your social media customer service in accordance with these facts? We’ve been on the social customer care scene since the early days. Here’s our insight.

It’s Not 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.

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.

It’s All About Engagement

Social media is all about engagement. (That’s the “social” part of the equation…) And social customer care will always be most successful when a brand is committed to responsiveness. Creating engagement with transparent, timely, effective customer care is good for your brand. Well managed social customer care can be a building brand loyalty and customer retention.

The social nature of social media also means that consumers are very likely to share their experiences with other users. This is the case with both good and bad experiences. Provide a thorough, solution-oriented response that reflects the brand, and you’ve instantly created free marketing through word-of-mouth.

Even if a company’s social media monitoring lies in the hands of the contact center team, that doesn’t diminish the fact that social media is highly public.  The public post is, of course, a major concern for branding and marketing, and often, for legal. Social interaction with consumers leaves a digital history that is archived within the social network and by search engines. As such, contact center agents must be assimilated into the company’s brand and culture, so they can respond with the appropriate voice.

Ultimately, engaging social customer care is essential in building brand loyalty and customer retention.

It’s Nothing Without the Data

Contact center big data – when leveraged effectively – is the key to higher performance and happier customers. And the same is true for social media customer service. With the sheer number of users reaching out to brands through social networks, there is sufficient data to inform your decisions. The days of one customer service tweet or two a day are long gone for most big brands.

To get the most from your solution, implement a streamlined workflow process and efficient monitoring tool that reveals trends and patterns, alerts agents to brand-related activity, and tracks social KPIs and metrics. At Blue Ocean, we’re admittedly obsessed with measurement and reporting whether it’s in traditional channels like phone and email or in social media.

We’ll be honest: we know how much of a burden the effective use of social media as a contact channel can be, especially when your customers carry on the conversation without you at all hours of the day. Outsourcing your social media customer service might be the best decision you ever make. We want to help. Click here for our Pricing Request Form.

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