Tuesday, January 10th, 2017 | 6 min read
In the past, poor interactions with customers could be contained. Even with the angriest customer, it was nearly certain that negative sentiment about your brand wouldn’t spread like wildfire.
As you know, times have changed.
Now, when customers are happy, angry, or frustrated, their negative (or positive) attitude toward your brand can be plastered all over social media, reaching users across the globe within a matter of seconds.
Consider that there are 2.1 million negative social mentions about brands in the US alone—every single day.
If you are not mitigating the unflattering social chatter about your brand, you risk exposing the digital nastiness to customers who are just looking for service. Preventing this is crucial when it comes to maintaining and strengthening customer relationships, and building loyalty.
Following the tips below will help you identify negative brand conversations, resolve issues as they arise, and prevent possible crises:
It’s inevitable: your customers are sharing, rating, raving, tweeting on social media constantly—and they want you to listen. According to Microsoft, 67% of consumers expect a response from a brand on social media within 24 hours, and as many as 42% even expect a response with the hour.
It’s your job, in turn, to listen for this chatter and act accordingly, whether that’s a direct response to a customer or a tidbit of knowledge that can be incorporated into future marketing strategies.
Use social listening to go beyond just tracking @mentions. To be an active social listener and leverage these insights to improve customer care, you must listen to all the brand-specific buzz. This is especially critical given that 31% of the social chatter around your brand does not @mention your brand directly. Being aware can help you not only become part of conversations directed at your brand, but also help steer them and drive a positive perception of your brand.
Your customers have different ways in which they prefer to engage with your brand. 80 percent of users access social media via smartphones, but some prefer apps while others use a web browser. Older demographics lean toward Facebook, while younger demographics can often be found on Instagram and Twitter.
Having a social presence across platforms is just the beginning. Your brand must excel at providing customer care across all social media outlets and on any device of choice to truly meet customer needs.
Nobody likes to repeat themselves, and every customer wants to feel like they matter to your business. Customers are constantly giving you information about themselves and what they like, but it’s up to you to use that information in a smart way.
It’s important to know who you’re talking to when trying to help a current or prospective customer. Having an overview of your conversation history or insights into the customer’s bio and publicly available information will not only help you avoid wasting their time, but also enable you to craft a more unique and tailored response.
Customer care is as much about being aware of the reputation of your brand as it is about knowing when and how to act in response. Monitoring inbound tweets as well as comments that discuss your brand without @mentioning you requires you to manage a huge influx of information.
You must, in turn, have a fast and easy way to take all this information and funnel it into the appropriate internal departments. Using natural language processing and condition based automation, you can determine (based on the content of the feedback) which department may be best suited to handle an issue. Then, all relevant teams are kept in the loop regarding the progress of customer support, which can be tracked from Twitter, to email, to phone by everyone involved.
During its summer peak, U-Haul receives as many as 20,000 inbound messages on social. And in 2016, the company needed a more efficient way to handle customer care.
For U-Haul, time was of the essence. It adopted social moderation: automating social listening, prioritizing and leveraging analytics, and collaborating internally to streamline processes. Following this investment, U-Haul can now resolve 70% of all customer service issues in 30 minutes or less, and has comprehensive reporting regularly available to be shared with executives. (Read the case study for more on how they did it.)
Upset customers are quick to voice their opinions and air their grievances. This risk is particularly big on social, where an endless number of users around the globe can access (and be swayed by) any negative commentary that may surround your brand.
The good news? You can change this.
Social care can make or break your brand’s standing as a fan-favorite, or position you as a customer’s cautionary tale. Fortunately, if you get customer service right, you address customers’ concerns and may improve their perception of your brand.
Customers who have experience good customer service, in fact, are more loyal, are willing to pay more for services, and share their positive experience with three times as many people as do those with negative experiences.
A successful social customer care strategy keeps negativity at bay, and can make you an unsurpassable line of defense for your brand’s reputation.