By the end of the year, 80% of companies plan to use social media for customer service. On the consumer side, 62% of customers have already used social media for customer service issues. Gartner predicts one billion users will be on social networks by the end of 2012.
The social landscape is evolving, but one thing remains certain in all this uncertainty. Your ability to serve your customers, in the channels they wish to be served in, is critical to your business success. But social media customer service isn’t a cute tool to be used by opportunistic marketing departments to big up the brand; it is an essential method of communication that needs to become part of a clearly defined organizational model.
It Affects Current and Potential Customers
The post-sales experience brings both acquisition and retention power. It is critical to keep current customers happy and show potential customers how well you do business. Social media gives your business a channel to achieve all of the above.
Any strategy for the implementation and integration of social media customer service must be future-proof, responsive and enhance the business as a whole. The social customer service model needs to be as organic and flexible as the medium that created it, while simultaneously delivering tangible results for the business through a stronger brand identity, better customer service and a long-term strategic plan.
But problems still exist. A study by A.T. Kearney found that, of the top 50 brands, 56% did not respond to a single customer comment on their Facebook Page in 2011. Brands ignored 71% of customer’s complaints on Twitter. And, 55% of consumers expect a response the same day to an online complaint, while only 29% receive one. Your customer service strategy must include social media and be part of your long-term business plan to maintain competitive advantage.
It Addresses Existing Customer Service Needs
Debbie Curtis-Magley, public relations manager at UPS and Viktor van der Wijk, director of a-acquisition at KLM deliver two standout presentations on how you can better leverage social media for customer service. The presentations look at how you can boost customer retention and aid acquisition, show how to better serve your customers through social media and deliver the business case to get your social media customer service program into full effect.
Based on these presentations, here are three tips for brands to better use social media as customer service tool.
1. Integrate social media into your existing customer service function. Gone are the days when social media sat on their own at the table, you now have allow social to influence all business functions to become a more responsive customer-centric business.
2. Create humanized response models to engender loyalty and build relationships. Many companies are guilty of creating robust and well-planned strategy for social customer service delivery but fall at the final and most important hurdle creating a voice your audience can relate to.
3. Monitor social interaction to spot issues and solve problems before they become crises. Social customer service delivery involves dealing with criticism and complaints in public, often in front of an audience of millions. If you’re going to prevent a small problem growing into something worse, you need to have a detailed understanding of what you need to respond to, a path to response, and escalation policies for resolution.
Source Mashable by Harry Rollason