There is no denying that social media has become an integral part of modern life. From staying connected with friends to reading daily news bites, we’re all now very aware of its many, wonderful uses and functions. Reasons such are these are behind why social media is such a huge success across the globe it is usually the first place people turn to should they have any questions or concerns about a brand.
Social media is constantly updating and refreshing, and firing out a number of short Tweets or status updates is so simple and accessible that social media has built itself an expectation of urgency and instantness. With these expectations in place, the public now expects the receive quicker and more efficient replies from brands when they encounter an issue.
So what do the statistics say?
Three-quarters of all internet users regularly tap into social media. Traditionally, customer support has been provided by having to sceptically call a 0845 number, only to be greeted by an automated robot on the other end and an inflated phone bill. Sending emails just doesn’t cut it either anymore – with a typical time of 48 hours passing before receiving a reply.
These methods are outdated, impersonal and just not fast enough for our inpatient and connected modern audience. Brands must evolve with the times, and the portion of active social media users should be enough to encourage that.
And that’s the absolute maximum. Once a consumer has Tweeted a brand with their query, it’s likely they will continue refreshing their notifications eagerly for an almost immediate response. The basics of customer service show that the quicker the response, the happier the consumer is likely to be as a result.
Using customer service for social media may seem high pressure, however, brands should remember that Twitter – a social network particularly renowned for providing customer service – only allows a total of 140 characters. That means that, rather than having to send a three-paragraph email with a lengthy apology or solution, the customer service team can quickly fire out responses and next-steps for that consumer.
Using social media for customer service drastically improves customer satisfaction rates, with over half of Twitter users stating that they felt more positive about a brand once their Tweet had been replied to. This improved level of customer satisfaction not only benefits the consumers but also the business too. Customers that favour your brand positively will be less likely to stray to a competitor, more likely to recommend your brand, and will have no reason to discontinue using your company’s services.
There is, of course, a certain manner and style that brands should adopt when replying to consumers. Consumers will respond better to personalised replies from an actual real person. Make sure to address the consumer using their name and also include the customer support agent’s name/initials who is dealing with the query, so an audit trail is in place for the enquiry.
Humour is a big thing for brands’ customer support accounts. If you’ve been on Twitter over the past couple of years you’ve probably seen a humorous exchange between a brand and your average person. Witty replies can help calm disgruntled customers and can also make the brand more human and approachable. Ultimately giving the consumers a better customer service experience, which should be one of the main goals for any brand.
Social media is here to stay and the number of active daily users will only ever keep on growing. Soon enough, most, if not all a brand’s consumers, will be using social media in some form or other. It has been proven to be one of the best and easiest platforms by a mile in bridging contact between brands and their customers and with this in mind, brands need to make a conscious effort to put social media at the forefront of customer support.