Social media has become an integral part of the customer experience especially in this day and age where many things have gone digital. These platforms help customers communicate and connect with favorite brands and new companies, oftentimes serving as a medium for customer service. The impact of social media is huge on the customer experience and it’s not going away anytime soon. We’ll explore its value and best practices when navigating customer service on social media.
Why Customer Experience Matters
When someone asks why customer experience matters, it’s easy to respond, “because it does!”
A customer’s experience can make or break your success but what specifically does it affect and why does it matter? Obviously, a good experience for your customers can mean a boost in sales, reaching your goals, expanding your reach, and all other positive outcomes. At a more specific level this can look like good reviews or word of mouth business or exceeding your quarterly goals.
On the other hand, bad customer experience can have several negative impacts on your business. You’re creating a bad impression with not just one customer but potentially many more. You’re not just losing one sale, but many others. Think about the people that will never hear about your company or even those that may hear bad things about it.
This is why a positive customer experience is essential for success, especially in a competitive marketplace.
How Does Social Media Enhance Customer Experience?
Social media can do a lot for your customer experience and has transformed the way businesses can connect with their customer base. This is real-time opportunity for engagement and increased accessibility to customers of all backgrounds.
This is a great platform that lets customers reach out to you at any time, from anywhere. That may seem a bit intimidating, but it comes with its benefits and helps enhance customer satisfaction. There are also strategies you can have in place to address concerns (more on this later).
Customer relationships can be improved when social media is in play. This is because they’re able to engage with companies at a one-to-one level while also being able to share experiences with other customers. Personalization and transparency build brands up, creating trust and loyalty while also tackling problems openly.
Social Media Customer Service Best Practices
1. Audience Research
Know who you’re speaking to beforehand. One of the most crucial aspects of a successful social media strategy is to understand who your customers are. This knowledge can help you effectively communicate with them. For example, how active is your audience and what type of content gets them engaged? This is also where the details of your buyer persona come out. You can use social media as a window to your audience by keeping track of conversations that are happening or researching who your audience is. Tap into what their interests are and who they follow to inform your content and strategies.
2. Leverage Automation
There are plenty of tools out there to help you stay on top of your social media management especially in relation to your customers. Look into automation tools like chatbots and pre-written responses that can take some of the work off your plate. For example, you have insight into what customers are usually asking (shipping deadlines, restock information, etc.) — you can have a plan in place for anticipated questions and automate responses. This way you respond quickly, even at times when you’re away. For example, when someone messages you at 11pm the week before Christmas asking if they’ll get their order in time, you can program a chat bot to tell them the shipping cutoff date.
You don’t want to rely on automation to the point where it removes the feeling of talking to a real person. If you’re utilizing automated responses, be sure to have a trigger for involving a sales rep or give customers information on who they can reach out to with more concerns. Also, take advantage of your marketing automation platform or CRM and document all interactions with customers. This will help you reference past interactions which will prove to them that their business is valuable to you.
It’s crucial to use active listening in customer service situations. When it comes to social media in particular, a blend of social listening and active listening is a good method for catering to your customers’ needs. Social listening improves your customer service strategy by analyzing conversations surrounding your company or industry and using that to inform your decisions. There are tools that can help you with this like Sprout Social or Hootsuite.
5. Consistency and Care
The customer experience should be consistent across your company no matter who is doing the outreach. Have specific guidelines for how issues are addressed and escalated as well as a clear message each time. A consistent customer experience can help build trust and brand loyalty.
Social media has completely changed the way businesses are able to connect with their customers. While there’s plenty to manage here, embracing this tool can do a lot for the customer experience. Ultimately, you’ll find that this way of communicating can enhance the experience for your customers and lead to positive benefits throughout the company.