What do you think about when you consider the advantages of social media for business?
Maybe you think about how to get Instagram followers to increase engagement for your brand. Perhaps you consider the numerous benefits that social media can offer when it comes to attracting new customers. Smart startups focus on the way that they can use social media to build relationships with their target audience. Such relationships are build either through conversations or frequent content marketing efforts.
Social media is all about being “social” after all. So why wouldn’t your startup use it as an opportunity to reach out and communicate with your customers? Of course, there’s more to a successful social media campaign than sharing pictures of your cat or tweeting messages about an upcoming sale. Great social media campaigns give your audience the help and guidance they need. It means they won’t have to to pick up the phone and call your office.
It’s safe to say that customer service is evolving to match the rapid development and growth of the communication industry. Today’s most popular platforms – from Instagram to Facebook, are the perfect way to show your customers just how much you value them.
Why Should You Consider Social Media as Your Customer Service Platform?
A survey by J.D. Power into 23,000 online customers found that around 67% have already used a company social media channel for some kind of customer support.
It makes sense – if you think about it. Sending a message on Facebook or Twitter seems far more instant than sending an email out into the digital ether. When today’s customer is looking for help, they often don’t want to waste time looking for a phone number. After all, calls lead to lengthy waiting times, annoying music, and multiple transfers that can cause even the most patient of clients to become frustrated.
At the same time, submitting a contact form or filling out an email seems like an invisible and impersonal approach to customer service. As a consumer, your concerns have to fit into a pre-set category. And even then, you might be re-directed to a bunch of FAQs instead of the answer you actually want.
If you figure out how to get instagram followers, fans on twitter, and customers on Facebook, then you can use your social strategy as more than just a place to build traffic. Using social media as a customer service portal can help you to compensate for many of the grievances that customers have with your service experience.
Simply put – it sets you apart from the crowd.
Don’t believe it’s a big deal? Check out this infographic from customer magnetism.
Social Customer Support is A Growing Opportunity
While about 80% of companies think that they’re delivering amazing customer service, only a measly 8% of customers feel the same way.
In other words, even if you’re convinced that you’re doing a great job with your customer support efforts, there’s a good chance that you’re messing it all up. Don’t panic though – social media might be able to help.
If you can empower your current team with the skills to deliver high-quality and responsive services to your customers on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you’ll be able to override your competitors and gain the advantage in your field. Why? Because you’ll be the only one that’s dedicated to delivering an excellent customer experience!
With a little social media know-how, exceeding your customer’s expectations in regards to service may be much easier than you think. All you need to know is what your customers really want from social media support.
A Fast Response Time
Perhaps the most important thing that any customer will want from you is a quick response. According to a study produced by Edison Research, 42% of customers who contact a brand through social media will expect a response within 60 minutes. Additionally, 32% expect a response within half an hour or less.
Though it might sound insane, consumers are twice as likely to respond to a brand that provides them with a fast, ineffective response, than one that provides them a slow, effective solution to the problem they’re facing. Basically, while it’s best to answer quickly and effectively, it’s a good idea to respond fast – even if you don’t have a way to fix the problem yet.
Customers want convenience.
While you’re thinking about how to get instagram followers, your customers are thinking about how to connect with their brands for help online.
Being able to reach out for help on Facebook when you already spend twelve hours a day logged into your profile is much simpler than having to search for an email address or contact form on a website. With that in mind, remember that if your customer asks you for help on Twitter, you shouldn’t respond with a number that they can call for extra assistance.
Adapt to your customer’s location, and make sure that you can offer assistance no matter where questions or concerns might present themselves. American Express has discovered that getting shuffled from one representative to another is one of the worst parts of dealing with customer service.
So where should you be able to help your customers most? The answer seems to be Twitter, at the moment. But as with all things in marketing, trends can quickly change.
Honesty and Transparency
It shouldn’t be a surprise to learn that transparency, honesty, and good care all matter when it comes to providing exceptional customer service. In fact, 70% of the buying experience can be based on how a person feels that they are being treated during a brand interaction.
This means that although it might be more difficult to make sure that you’re giving your customer a caring and honest experience than a speedy one, it’s important to make sure that all of your customer service efforts are tailored to show how much you truly value the people who reach out to you.
Your customer wants to know that the issues they raise are as important to you as they are to them. You simply say something like “I’m sorry, and we’re trying to fix this as fast as possible”. This can be enough to start building a better form of communication between you and your target market.
Part of being honest is simply being able to say when you, or the startup that you represent, has done something wrong. Even if forces beyond your control caused an issue to happen, simply telling someone that you’re sorry can be enough to prevent small problems from having negative impacts on your startup.
In fact, taking responsibility for your actions might even help to boost your brand image by demonstrating your trustworthy and humble nature.
A Personalized Experience
Part of what makes social media customer service so effective is that your customers don’t have to deal with the frustration of pre-recorded messages on the phone or “instant” copy/paste responses on email.
People like to be treated like human beings, from a human being, and social media can make this process much easier. On Facebook or Twitter, you can start talking to people in the voice that you want to portray for your brand, so they know exactly who they’re dealing with.
Because social media forces you to think carefully about the way you respond to the people who reach out to you, you can make efforts to retain your brand voice, while communicating like a real person – humanizing your brand.
Your Social Customer Service Solution
More and more startups are beginning to recognize the value of using social media as their primary customer service portal, particularly as responsive websites and mobile-browsing become more popular. It’s quick, it’s effective, and it’s perfect for giving their brand the personality and humanity that all companies need to thrive.
Of course, like any part of running a startup, using social media for customer support is something that needs to be handled with care. Using the advice I’ve outlined above, you should have a good foundation to start structuring the perfect social media service experience.