Customer service on Social: Time to get your act together

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?

One Response to Customer service on Social: Time to get your act together

  1. VJ Sharma says:

    Social media has opened many gates for companies to engage better with customer. This is becoming one of the strong channels to connect with your real customers. Although, at the same time not every social-media is at same level from maturity point of view. So essentially brands need to be very aware of the kind of customers who are using any of these social media mediums and target the ones which make more sense.

    Some of the brands are using it really well with specific goals in mind.