Umang Bedi, Man­ag­ing Direc­tor – Adobe, South Asia LinkedIn

Mr Umang Bedi, Adobe Systems India (319)With more than a bil­lion peo­ple now using social media world­wide, it’s not a ques­tion of whether brands will offer ded­i­cated cus­tomer ser­vice options on social but a ques­tion of when. Even if brands choose not to join in the con­ver­sa­tion on social, their cus­tomers will still be talk­ing about them – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Recent research revealed that over 56% of cus­tomer tweets to com­pa­nies are being ignored. Nearly all of the top brands (95%) are active on Twit­ter, yet only 23% have a ded­i­cated cus­tomer ser­vice han­dle. The Real­time Report, recently con­ducted a study test­ing the response rates, pri­or­i­ti­za­tion and tim­ing of 14 lead­ing con­sumer brands and had star­tling results where only 14% of the tweets were answered!

Social media gives brands valu­able cus­tomer insights and the chance to gain new insight into what the cus­tomer really needs and wants.  Brands should lever­age this and real­ize the impor­tance of cus­tomer ser­vice espe­cially at a time where cus­tomer loy­alty is volatile as con­sumers can jump on the inter­net, see neg­a­tive com­ments and reviews, and find another com­pany to fill their needs. It is not enough just to have a pres­ence on social. Engage with your cus­tomers and the best way to do this is through excel­lent cus­tomer service.

Some tips on inter­act­ing with cus­tomers on social:

Lis­ten, lis­ten, listen

The best way to under­stand your cus­tomers is to go onto social plat­forms and search for con­ver­sa­tions around your brand. Make sure to expand your key­word search, enter­ing not only your brand name but prod­ucts as well as words asso­ci­ated with your brand. Mon­i­tor­ing all the var­i­ous social plat­forms man­u­ally is tedious at best and impos­si­ble at scale, so invest­ing in a good social lis­ten­ing tool is nec­es­sary. Adobe Social allows you to mon­i­tor all your social com­mu­ni­ties in one aggre­gated plat­form.  Through its very cool (and extremely handy) Twit­ter and Face­book mod­er­a­tion han­dle, you can eas­ily do a key­word search to dis­cover who is talk­ing about you,  how many fol­low­ers that per­son has and can respond directly to the per­son or esca­late it to some­one else in the team to respond, such as a prod­uct specialist.

Take Action!

It is not enough just to iden­tify where and what your cus­tomers are say­ing on social, you need to take action if nec­es­sary.  If you come across a cus­tomer tweet or Face­book com­ment, espe­cially if it’s directly on your brand page, do not ignore it! There is noth­ing a cus­tomer hates more than being ignored. The num­ber one rule for suc­cess­ful social media cus­tomer ser­vice is action. At least acknowl­edge you have heard their con­cerns and either address it directly or esca­late it to the appro­pri­ate person.

Don’t just respond, do it swiftly.

News travel fast on social, so brands need to respond quickly, espe­cially with com­plaints. Act­ing swiftly can stop the fires from spread­ing, and rein­force a brand’s com­mit­ment to cus­tomer care.  How­ever, this is not an excuse for panic reac­tions – there should be set guide­line responses, and staff need to be trained to esca­late poten­tial issues to the right per­son imme­di­ately if a quick response is needed.

We’d love your com­ments and feed­back.  Do you have any tips for brands and their online cus­tomer service?