Top image: How to strengthen customer service with social media

Zarnaz Arlia, CMO, Emplifi

How to strengthen your service strategy with social media

Customers get in touch with brands because they need to, not because they want to. This is why it’s important to be ready to offer support on every channel to meet your customers’ needs, and today that very much includes social.

Social media is continuing to grow in importance and it’s increasingly becoming a preferred channel for communication. Consumers want to be able to connect with the companies and brands they relate to, and social media allows them to do just that, enabling two-way communication in a way like never before. And the brands that know how to leverage social media to provide seamless customer service are the ones that will build long-lasting relationships with their customers, creating that all-important trust and loyalty.

Meeting Modern Customer Expectations

Today, millennials and younger generations make up just over half of the American population, and these generations are online. Gen Z has never known life without Google. They are true digital natives: From their earliest youth, they have been exposed to the internet, social media networks and mobile systems. So for modern brands, being present on social media platforms—where today’s customers already are—isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a must.

Social media plays an increasingly important role throughout the customer journey, particularly during the ever-crucial purchasing process. At any moment, brands must be prepared to quickly and effectively answer any potential questions that arise during the actual purchase, as well as after, should post-care be needed. Social media provides an amazing opportunity for brands to take their customer experience to the next level, but unfortunately, a whopping 62% of consumers don’t feel that they receive excellent customer service on social media when making a purchase. So, what should brands be considering as they level up their customer care to meet the needs of the modern consumer?

Focusing On Social Care

According to Statista, 47% of U.S. consumers have a more favorable view of brands that respond to customer complaints and questions on social media. Here are some tips on how to strengthen your customer service on social media:

  • Rely on AI. By actively monitoring what people are saying on social media, you can capitalize on those conversations to create positive brand engagement and encourage further brand mentions from others. However, if you are dealing with a large volume of messages from multiple social channels, it’s not always easy to quickly identify the actionable, urgent posts mixed in with all the social noise. A social monitoring tool can help you to keep track of your brand mentions across the social web and uncover actionable insights to improve your social media customer service strategy. Additionally, AI-powered bots can route the right customer comment and queries to the right live advisors to optimize productivity and response times.

  • Maintain tight response times. Social media is a fast-paced, instant-gratification environment where speed trumps everything. Our research found that 52% of consumers expect brands to respond within one hour (and many even expect to hear back within five minutes). Chatbots can handle routine cases, while complex cases can be routed to the appropriate service agents for faster resolution. Be sure to distinguish which cases require a personalized response versus those that can be handled via automation. For example, public posts can be handled by a company’s social media manager, while conversations in Messenger can be handled through automation, giving users several prompts to choose from.

  • Empower your representatives. Delivering empathetic customer care can lead to long-term customer relationships. Responding empathetically to a complaint can be just as effective as preventing one in the first place. To do so, agents need access to the customer’s history, relevant product information, policies, FAQs and more.

  • Respond to positive feedback. Not every interaction will be a negative one. Customers may reach out when they’ve had a good experience with your business. Capitalize on this by re-sharing their comments or rewarding them for their loyalty! Followers will take note of how attentive your brand is, motivating them to further engage with you and do business with you.

From Contact To Advocate

More and more we’re seeing that social media is an integral part of the customer experience. Delivering great experiences for customers and achieving revenue growth are not mutually exclusive; they go hand in hand. Happy customers become returning customers, and returning customers become loyal customers, and that loyalty really impacts the bottom line.

For brands, serving your customers on their preferred channel is vital to building stronger relationships, building loyalty and ultimately turning them into brand advocates.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com

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