Why Social Media Care Is The New Customer Service

Why Social Media Care is the new Customer Service

Social Media Care, also referred to as Social Care, is all about using social media platforms as customer service venues. Already about 16% of customer support requests are served via social media, and it’s more than likely that figure will grow rapidly in the coming years. What customers are saying about your brand will be more and more public – and it simply can’t be ignored.

Three reasons you should use Social Care

Go Beyond Traditional Customer Service

Customer service representatives are a very important part of your business. Thus, many businesses don’t see the advantages of Social Care. After all, when customers call in to your business, as unfortunate as it may be, the reason is usually to complain. That’s not always the case with Social Care.

When users are vocal on your social media profiles, you’ll see everything – good and bad. So while there will be troubling complaints, you’ll also be able to evaluate what your clientele enjoys about your service! With their ability to “like” and “follow” what your brand is doing, you’ll notice how many people truly love your brand.

Don’t just accept compliments passively, either. Interact with these users for deeper engagement. Thank people for their nice comments or help them out by sending links, instructions, or location directions. By expanding your customer service to an online platform, you’re also connecting with your consumers on a more personal, positive level.

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Grow Your Brand’s Personality

Acting like a robot with standard, scripted responses won’t grab the attention of current or potential clientele. Establishing a brand personality on social sites helps your consumers relate to your brand. And hey – it’s not as easy being angry at a genuinely likable online persona.

To craft your custom responses, you must decide what your brand voice will be. For example, a tech company may want to rely more heavily on witty quips, while an insurance company’s angle would be more formal (though still sincere and likable). Whatever you do, always respond. Hearing from a brand really resonates with consumers and assures them someone at the company understands how they feel.

By actively employing Social Care, your posts will automatically build your brand personality. You’ll forge a stronger relationship with customers and make your organization more recognizable in the online world.

Build Your Brand’s Rapport

Set a standard of excellence for your Social Care plan and you’ll see positive results. For instance, answering every comment fully and promptly will make sure users don’t feel ignored. Here are three more tips to help you earn the trust of your followers and fans:

  • Be transparent. If a user posts something negative on your brand page, many want to delete it immediately – but don’t! By answering the negativity, you’ll show other users that you’re taking control of the issue and are able to resolve it quickly and efficiently.
  • Be genuine. You’ve spent time developing your brand voice and personality; use it! When responding to consumers, listen to them and answer with a realistic response. By doing so, you’ll prove that brand loyalty goes both ways.
  • Be reliable. If you’ve replied to consumers within a certain timeframe before, you must do the same for others so nobody feels you’ve been unfair. Treat every user the same and show them your brand can be counted on when issues arise.

Brands Using Social Care Effectively:

If you’re not exactly sure where to start, here are a few personal experiences that can point you in the right direction:

Chobani Greek Yogurt

Chobani has mastered their brand voice and uses it to their advantage. They even reach out to customers who didn’t directly ask for help.

Chobani Greek Yogurt

I remember that morning well: I tweeted out of disappointment for my lost yogurt. Chobani didn’t have to respond, but they did… and next thing I knew I had coupons for 8 new cups of Chobani. Now it’s a brand I’m definitely going to stick by.

State Farm Insurance

State Farm is my insurance company. So when a tree fell on my car, I let them know about their responsive service…

State Farm Insurance

The last thing I needed that day was trouble with my insurance company. What I received was the exact opposite. I was flooded with an outpour of well wishes from the main State Farm office and their offices around the nation. This kind of personal connection makes me never want to leave their service.

Wells Fargo Bank

When problems with your bank arise, they need to be fixed… fast. So when I didn’t hear back from Wells Fargo’s customer service call center, I went to Twitter. Within 30 minutes I received this:

Wells Fargo Bank

Within 12 hours my issue was resolved. The prompt response of the Wells Fargo agent exceeded the capability of their traditional customer service. In this case, my faith was restored in their brand.

Have you started with a Social Media Care plan? If so, what have you found works well? Leave a note or tweet us @Ripen_eCommerce!

Discuss This Article

Comments: 1

  • Disclosure: I’m a VP at mBLAST one of our main markets is helping customer service organizations (through our software partners), so I’ve got a horse in this race.

    “Social Care” is here and I applaud the Chobani, State Farms and Wells Fargo for using their customers’ preferred channels to engage back with the customer… but sadly, there are many internal tugs-of-war happening in companies that are preventing this type of behavior from becoming the norm.

    In most of the companies I speak with (and many analysts I speak with hear the same thing), social channels for customer care are being “hot potatoed” between marketing and customer service. Customer service is challenged with limited systems that make it hard for reps to easily engage, and most companies have policies in place that prevent reps from reaching out via social channels or – when they do allow CSRs to engage – they see this as “risky” and rely upon canned responses. Most companies I talk to still look to marketing to own the social channels because social falls under the umbrella of “branding” and we know who owns branding…..marketing.

    And that’s the challenge. Marketing may own the brand but they’re not staffed, equipped or trained respond to a customer’s comment. Marketing traditionally doesn’t have the responsiveness innate in the customer service department.

    If customer service can respond quickly but can’t due to technical system limitation or company policies, and marketing is not in a service capacity, how does a company make the paradigm shift to providing “Social Care”?

    Given my background, you won’t be surprised when I say you must invest in the technology that will allow your agents to quickly accurately find and then respond to customers in need; and then you must give your CSRs the training and freedom to be the voice of the company back to the customer on whatever channel the customer wants to use.

    Many companies say,” I provide ‘Social Care’; we have a Facebook and Twitter account that we monitor”. Folks, I that is a GREAT start and but monitoring and even responding only to the customers who are proactively reaching out to you is only half the story.

    So what’s the other half of the story? Finding the customers that are speaking about your product off channel and connecting with them. And doing so when it’s not immediately obvious that they’re asking for your help (e.g. they’re not tweeting @ you or posting on your Facebook wall). Here’s an example: a company I spoke with at a recent Social Care event said that their brand was getting a mention somewhere on the social Web every five seconds. How are you going to figure out which of those mentions are worth proactively responding to? Are you going to have a person monitoring a console and making that decision 12 times a minute for 24 hours of every day? No – you’re going to need a tool that can clear up the noise (“I just ate a Chipotle” vs. “I just had a bad experience at Chipotle”) and which can also make sure that the most important voices (e.g., those who can have the most effect on your business) rise to the top.

    Companies need to adopt Social Care or Social Customer Service, I agree… but as you venture into those waters be aware that most conversations by your customers about your products are happening without you being actively looped in… and those are the customers that can cause the most damage to your brand. Those customers are not seeking help from you – they are likely in complain mode and they are taking to the social airwaves to be heard. If they wanted your help they’d hit your Facebook page or put that @ into their tweet.

    Now, imagine how customer satisfaction would grow if a customer got listened to and responded to when they didn’t think you, the company, was listening. Now that is Social Care at its best and it is easily possible.

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