The number of people using social media continues to rise each year, with 72 percent of adults that are online now participating on social networking sites, according to the Pew Research Center. One of the factors that has caused this increase in engagement is that communicating through social media is now possible at almost any place and at any time. For example, the Pew Research Center also showed 40 percent of mobile phone owners access a social networking site on their mobile device. Given this, there is a big opportunity for businesses to take advantage of social media as a vehicle for customer engagement. The following are just a few tips on understanding how consumer’s interact with their social media networks, and how businesses can leverage that knowledge to provide a unique and tailored customer service experience.
Explore, Share and Promote
- To succeed in social media, it is vital to understand consumer activity via social. We refer to the role of social in customer service as “E.S.P.” Customers will use social to Explore the choices available to them and discover what their friends are recommending. They then Share the experience they had online to ignite feedback and confirmation that they made a good purchase. Finally, the next step past sharing is to Promote by encouraging others to make similar purchases.
- Companies are realizing the benefits of customers promoting their products and services via social and rewarding with coupons and discounts for promoting their purchases. Taking an extra step to deliver highly-customized offerings to the consumer makes them feel valued and shows that the consumer’s previous purchase was appreciated. Creating personal interaction leads to an improved consumer experience and further establishes social media as one of many channels in the customer service ecosystem that leading companies are now using in this new world.
The always connected consumer
- Consumers have multiple connected devices with them throughout the day. Consumers now expect to be able to seamlessly move throughout their engagement with a business from one channel such as the mobile web, to a phone conversation, to social media while maintaining the same interaction – this is known as omnichannel. Companies must be able to provide an omnichannel experience to increase customer satisfaction and retention by responding to the customer on their preferred channel at any given point in time.
Make the data work for you
- Many companies get bogged down by the amount of customer data they have and don’t make it work to their advantage. After all of the consumer communication and preferences have been tracked, it is important to pull the data together and analyze it. By applying predictive analytics in real time, companies can precisely anticipate the consumer’s intent and provide faster, smarter and highly customized service.
Communicating via social media channels has become routine for many people and an activity that is now done out of habit. When businesses harness the power of social to interact with customers, and in addition, tailor that interaction to a customers’ preferences, they have the ability to meet the customer’s needs, predict what they want next and surpass their expectations.