We noticed that last year Nationwide were the first UK high street financial services provider to offer its customers 24/7 Twitter coverage, answering their questions and queries, as well as providing them with customer service information and support, any time of day or night.Much of their advertising now majors on this.You can see their announcement here
It may be a puzzle to some people why this would have any significance and some would assume this would have very little importance.However Customer service is evolving to match the rapid growth and development of new communication media, and today’s most popular social media platforms are the perfect opportunity to capitalize on that trend. When today’s customers try to get in touch an increasing number of businesses have turned to Social Media as a Customer Service tool.
The growth in using Social Media as a Customer Service tool is happening for several reasons:
1: Communication Is Immediate
When people are upset, or when they need answers to their questions, they want a response right away. They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be read, sorted, and responded to. They don’t want to wait on hold for 30 minutes.One of the most effective elements of social media is its immediacy. The minute somebody makes a post on your Facebook wall or a post mentioning your brand, your admin team will receive a notification to take action.They will also know that this request is publicly visible. This is also a slight vulnerability—customers expect immediate responses when posting on social media, so if your response team isn’t prepared, it could cost you—but if you can respond within minutes of the original post, you’ll be able to make your customer very happy. This is especially effective for customers dealing with an urgent problem.You response will also be highly visible.
2: You Give People a More Personal Experience
Resourced properly Social Media means that it will be a person responding to a customer enquiry.There won’t be any automatically generated emails. There won’t be any tone-based phone menus. It’s just a question, followed by an answer.Social media also allows you to think carefully about your response and present it in a more casual, conversational tone. This way, you can retain your business identity while writing and communicating like a human, thus humanizing your business brand.
3: The Conversation Is Transparent and Highly Visible
This works both ways. For the customer, transparency is all about vindication. When customers are upset, they want to be heard, and posting on social media is the perfect way to be heard. By allowing your customers to make their complaints or questions public in this way, you’re giving them an immediate outlet. They feel in control, and appreciate the urgency companies feel to respond when the issue is made public.For companies, transparency means that other potential customers get to see how well you handle the situation. If you can answer a customer’s concerns quickly, nicely, and effectively, you’ll instantly leave all of your followers with a good feeling—confidence that your customer service is top-notch.
4: You’re Encouraging More Mentions for your Business.
More interactions on social media means you have more opportunities to point people back to your profile and ultimately your website. Your customers will mention you in their posts, making you visible to all their contacts. Even if they come to you with a concern or an issue, you’ll get visibility and an opportunity to show off your ability to quickly and effectively and correct the problem. When relevant, you can also post links to your site for more information. No matter how you handle questions and comments, you’ll be encouraging more activity and more mentions, which can also help your SEO rankings.
5: Follow-up Is Easy
Depending on how long it takes for the problem to be resolved, following up with your customer is fast and easy. If you manage to resolve the problem with a quick answer, you can immediately ask whether or not the interaction was helpful. If it wasn’t, you have an opportunity to take further action—rather than forcing the customer through another round of calling or emailing. If it was helpful, you have a publicly visible follow-up interaction that ends on a positive note. You can also make a note to follow up a few days later with a private message to make sure the customer is still satisfied.
6: Social Users Are More Likely to Talk About Their Experience
Intuitively, the people most likely to use social media are the people who like to socialize. The most active users have hundreds of followers and friends on various social media profiles, and they’re used to posting updates regularly.
How you respond to these people is significant, because they are more likely to tell others about their experience with your business. If you treat them well, they’ll share a positive experience with their extended social network—and you’ll get access to new potential fans and customers.
7: You Eliminate the Funnel
Customers hate the funnel. When customers contact you, they want to be responded to in the same medium. Otherwise, they feel like they are being ‘processed through a mechanical series of hoops, which leaves them with an alienated, impersonal feeling. Many major companies make the mistake of ushering people through one dedicated communication channel, usually a phone number or an email address, and isolating customers who reach out in any other method.
So many larger service businesses (Banks,Telecommunications and Energy sectors especially) are turning to Social Media to communicate with existing customers.Now many medium sized and smaller businesses are using it too.
Twitter in particularly has turned out as very useful tool for customer service, with users reaching businesses in a convenient way. It’s not an easy task to be really responsive through social media, since users tend to be impatient, but if you manage to win social customer’s satisfaction, then your business should feel really grow! Its a big opportunity to interact with your customers and help spread positive word of mouth about you.
If you would like us to help you use Social Media as a Customer Service tool to market your business get in touch for a free consultation. contact us