Social As A Service: On-Point Holiday Marketing
I had the worst customer experience just now. I’m talking one of those infuriating, “Take my money!!!” moments, where all you’re trying to do is make a purchase and the customer service is horrible.
For five days I let it fester. I used the site’s chatbot – no response! Email – no help! This site is lucky that I really wanted to try their subscription service. I gave them days to respond and tried them on chat every time.
To be honest, I would have complained to Twitter first, but their Twitter username was nowhere to be found. Eventually, I found it and finally, they helped me! Within minutes, the social media managers had me all worked out. And all I was trying to do this entire time, was give them my money! Sigh…
Over 70% of internet users today say they go to Twitter and Facebook first to make direct complaints to businesses.
And these stats are only on the rise!
With the holidays upon us, being available for personalized shopping suggestions and questions about orders is a must! The younger the generation, the higher the expectation for instant, personalized responses.
Gen Z is the ‘On Demand’ generation. That’s how they play the game. The question is, are you even in it?
Why ‘Social As A Service’ Is Such A Big Deal
Over 88% of brands say that customer service on social is important to their brands. With the rise of social media chatbots and e-commerce, especially during the holidays, businesses of all sizes can’t afford to not be responding, constantly!
The short version of the story, social media is convenient. Nobody likes hunting down those customer service phone numbers. Social media users prefer social media customer care services to telephone or email — and 32% of consumers (raises hand, jumps up and down) think the phone is the most painful way to handle a problem in the first place.
Communication on social media is almost immediate as are shopping decisions during the holidays. Did you know that over 46% of online shoppers change their mind at the last minute? The top reasons why users decide against a product online – lack of free shipping, lack of customer service, slow website speed.
The same can be said for reasons why customers reach out to brand on social media – questions, issues with a product or service, praise for products and services, comments about online experience, or comment about offline experience. In other words, they look you up either because they love you or they hate you! Which is it going to be? That is up to you!
At the core, customer experience is everything!
How To Boost Social As A Service During The Holidays
Your consumers expect to get a response in 30 minutes or less with round-the-clock support!
Here’s how you start meeting those customer expectations right away:
Add a Chatbot to Social Media
A good chatbot is a thing of beauty but a bad chatbot can just become one more pet peeve for your customers to hate when they’re trying to get service.
One of the primary problems companies can have with social media as a service is an inconsistent response. A good chatbot can help you provide the near-immediate service that your consumers expect. Chatbots can prevent you from having a lot of customer messages that get repeated — or simply go unanswered.
Don’t just throw a chatbot up on your site or social media! Your chatbot needs to actually be responsive and useful or it will do more damage than good. In essence, it should be able to answer simple service questions, provide instructions, take messages and give updates.
Hire Only The Very Best Holiday Helpers
While a lot of your contacts on social will be easy to handle through a chatbot, you can’t rely on automation for everything. Depending on the volume of the contacts you receive through social, you may not be able to keep up with communications from your customers without dedicated support.
A social media customer service pro can man the channels during the peak brands for your company. That’s the best way to provide comprehensive, authentic responses to your customers in a timely manner.
Checking It Twice (As Often): Be Responsive
Your customers have a tremendous amount of power on social media, and your customers want to be heard. Every single social post, comment, or question is a public review of your company. A lack of response on social is the same thing as ignoring a customer standing right in front of you.
You can retweet praise on Twitter, respond to customer experiences on Facebook and generally find ways to interact with your customers around their social feedback toward your brand. Each interaction on social media, no matter how small, tells the consumer that they have value — that they matter. You need to constantly reinforce that message through social to be effective.
Don’t Be A Scrooge: Respond Positively
Your brand — no matter how perfect — is going to see negative comments on social media from time to time. You need to know how to handle negative comments and feedback before it happens to mitigate the potential damage.
Here’s a good way to approach it: Ask yourself what you would do if a customer were complaining in a store where others could overhear? Social media amplifies that exact situation. Your social feed has the potential of putting a single complaint in front of hundreds of your customers at once.
Quickly and publicly acknowledge your customer’s issue, show that you care and empathize, and offer a solution that can then take place via a private channel. Depending on what you do, you may even be able to anticipate certain complaints ahead of time and decide how to handle them in advance.
Is someone being a Scrooge on your social media? You may be the target of an online “troll” who wants to simply create trouble. A positive reaction to someone’s hostile interactions can actually help you gain emotional currency from other customers who see the exchange.
Don’t Be A Ghost of Holiday’s Past: Humanize Your Responses
Humanizing your response doesn’t just mean tagging the start of your emails with an automated name message. More than anything, businesses need to learn that personalization begins with acknowledging the individuality of your consumers. With customer service, that means acknowledging their complaint and truly listening to what it is they are asking.
Too many times, humans come across like a chatbot that hasn’t correctly interpreted the consumer’s need. How ironic is it that a human response can be so much more detrimental to your business than an automated one? Don’t just reply with templated responses. Engage. Listen!!!
Social media’s ability to raise awareness for a brand and attract new customers has helped breathe new life into many marketing campaigns. However, smart business owners know they also need to focus on nurturing the relationships they have through great customer service — and social should play a big role in that process today.
Brands tend to fall short on social media as a vehicle for service by just not engaging actively enough, often enough, and consistently enough with their customers. Step up your game. Figure out the right balance between automated chatbots and personal responses in order to give each consumer that reaches out to you the efficient, effective service you’d like to see them get if they were standing right in your store. In today’s world, online interactions can be just as important — or more so — than physical ones.