The 5 core benefits of social customer service

Social customer service is no longer a trend, it’s a reality. Google it. Or better yet, log in to Twitter or Facebook and check out how the world’s leading brands are social media savants. Whether you’re just getting started with social media for customer service or you’re still sitting on the fence, it's helpful to remember why everyone's doing it. So let’s take a closer look at five key benefits of social customer service.

1) Social customer service is fast

How fast is fast in the world of social customer service? Really fast. I'm talking instantaneous. Because social media never turns off, it’s like a constant conversation among brands and customers. Though customers now expect shorter wait times precisely for this reason, it has never been easier to respond to incoming queries quickly. Waiting on hold is so 20th century. Customers won’t stand for it anymore, and thanks to the speed of social media, they shouldn’t have to. 

This doesn’t mean that contact center agents should all be sitting at their screens with dozens of tabs open. The right social customer service software includes keyword-based monitoring that seeks out brand mentions and relevant conversations across digital channels, then routes them to the best agent for the task. Customers will be happier and will feel more connected to the brand because they know they can always get in touch and receive a fast, response-driven answer.

How to take advantage: Use social customer service software with keyword-based monitoring to find relevant conversations. Then use routing to send them to the best agent in real-time. 

2) Communicating online is efficient

Social customer service agents should be able to work more efficiently, serving more customers with the same amount of effort than classic contact centers. I’ve seen this at work in companies of all sizes from many different industries, including T-Mobile, whose customer engagement and efficiency skyrocketed without increasing the size of their social customer service teams. Agents can serve more customers on social media than they ever could by phone or email.

How to take advantage: Set efficiency goals for your customer service team and make them happen by using the right social customer service tools.

3) Posts on social media are wide-reaching 

One problem with classic customer service over the phone or by email is that it’s one-to-one communication. In other words, it stays between two people: the customer and the service agent. But social customer service is one-to-many communication. Due to the public nature of social media, an exchange between a customer and a company can be seen by anyone who’s following. That means information is more widely broadcast more easily. 

The wide-reaching nature of social media posts cuts down on repeat queries and also rewards brands who deliver great customer service on social media. Every online conversation with a customer is a public record. While that might sound intimidating, the brands that flourish take advantage of the possibility of going viral and use customer service to spread the word about their brand.

How to take advantage: Develop fast, efficient, results-driven social customer service and maintain it, with a knowledge that each response is a public representation of the brand.

4) Social media loves vibrancy

Social customer service gives brands a chance to let their hair down, and the most popular brands on social media have developed feeds that don’t just service customers, they entertain, surprise and delight them. Social media is multi-media, so it lets you use photos, videos and gifs to create amazing content. These posts not only attract attention, they help brands create a sense of personality and voice that goes beyond mere words. Funny and vibrant posts tend to be shared widely. But what's more, great service, since it’s seen by so many people on social media, is something that brands can build their reputation on. Zappos is the most famous example of a brand that has become famous for their incredible service. The result has been very big business.

How to take advantage: Mix it up with different types of media and don’t be afraid to reference pop culture and current events to keep your feed fresh and eye-catching.

5) Technology helps break the digital barrier 

You can’t tell too much about a person from the sound of their voice. Their mood is about it, other than whether they’re a man or woman. So classic call center agents are limited in their ability to know customers and thus personalize their service. Call center service is by definition impersonal. But a customer's social media profile can tell agents a lot about them, allowing for personal connections. 

Social customer service software with built-in CRM profiles that show agents more information about customers is invaluable for taking advantage of the personal nature of social media. But it’s also important that contact center KPIs are adjusted to include room for human connections. And agents need the freedom to go off-script to create a human moment with customers and personalize the service.

How to take advantage: Gather the right information about your customers, and make sure customer service agents get that information and are encouraged to use it to make connections.

Knowing the benefits of social customer service is the first step to creating and maintaining a level of service that will delight your current customers and win you new ones, and it’s vital to have the right technology on your side.

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