Ever since I attended Our Social Times’ ‘The Rise of Social Customer Service’ event at Social Media Week I’ve been even more conscious and curious about the ways in which brands are using social media for customer service. Having quite a strong customer service background I have a fairly good understanding of what good customer service should look like but also understand the pitfalls and difficulties that come with trying to deliver excellent customer service.
That’s why this infographic produced by Socialbakers really interested me.
The fact that only 48% of companies are answering questions astonishes me. The whole idea of social media is to be sociable, part of being sociable is creating conversation and answering questions. The main challenge I keep seeing being raised by brands (especially regarding Facebook with Edgerank) is how to improve engagement (finally people seem to be looking past fans and follower counts and actually looking at what really matters), yet 48% of companies are missing the chance to engage with people who are actually trying to engage with them by asking questions. I just don’t get it. They’ll spend a fortune on creative social media strategies and building expensive apps yet when it comes to actually responding to people who want to interact and engage with them they just don’t bother!
Personally I think any brand that has a social profile needs to seriously look at having a social customer service policy in place, and not one that just directs you to a premium rate phone number or back to the website. There is nothing more frustrating than contacting a brand through Twitter or Facebook and just receiving a generic ‘thanks for your message if you call xxx we’d be happy to help you’ type message. In fact this is the kind of thing that is likely to cause a backlash as most people will have already tried visiting the website or calling up and have got nowhere which is why they’re contacting the brand on social media therefore receiving a generic message will only infuriate them more and cause them to slate the brand online.
I’ve had personal experience of both excellent and terrible social customer service, the terrible has caused me never to shop with the brands again, the excellent has meant I now feel a loyalty to the brands and will continue to shop there.
For me this is key, everyone always wants to know how to demonstrate the ROI of social media well surely this is a prime example. If you provide great customer service you’re much more likely to have loyal customers and many more repeat purchases (your return) compared to the customers you lose either by ignoring questions or providing a half-arsed service (therefore creating a loss).