Last updated: Customer service: Are you ready for the socially connected customer?

Customer service: Are you ready for the socially connected customer?

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There’s no question that today’s customers are more connected, demanding, and informed. The common expectation is for consistent service to be available 24/7 across channels and devices, and preferably without the hassle of listening to bad hold music on an endless phone call. Self-service, once the lonely outpost of the knowledge base, now encompasses the likes of Twitter, YouTube, community forums, and other social channels. Offering a combination of unassisted and agent-assisted customer service through social channels is the next hurdle for companies evolving to meet this demand.

Consumers often use social media to gather pre- and post-purchase information about products, including applications, bugs, and best practices. To deliver quality information via social channels, companies should utilize the following 4 approaches.

4 effective approaches to provide game-changing social customer service

1. Provide lower friction customer service

While telephone and email still hold sway, creating a social environment that empowers customers to access self-service resources (such as knowledge bases) is paramount. Within social channels like Facebook and Twitter, consumers want to send direct messages using their accounts, rather than interface with the official customer service links on the company’s main website.  Enable these channels and grow your customer service presence.  But don’t just end with enabling them.  These channels must be monitored.  What might be worse than not having these channels available for customer service, is having them available and then ignoring your customers who are using them!

2. Offer faster response times.

Socially connected customers are increasingly mobile. Today’s customers  are constantly on their phones, checking their social networks to see what’s trending, watch videos, find product specs and get their questions answered, all in real-time.  An effective presence on social channels allows companies to respond faster and more effectively to requests.  It’s important not just to be answering questions and inquiries through social channels, but also actively predicting customer needs and pushing out new content through these channels, to help them answer their questions before they become problems.

3. Take advantage of community intelligence

Social channels are not just limited to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.  Community forums are a key social channel where customers engage and gain community intelligence in real time. Given the free-flowing nature of communities, monitoring this channel actively is crucial. Bad information can go viral and it takes active social presence to drive consumers to the right resources. Taking advantage of community intelligence offered via social helps tap into peer-to-peer knowledge, increases customer loyalty and can help identify patterns and problems with products.  Where poor customer service in community forums can create detractors on your brand, great customer service will create advocates!

4. Predict rather than react to customer inquiries

Social channels, like knowledge bases, can be powered by machine learning that gathers data over time and filters it back through social channels. This provides just another avenue for M2C education and service. Monitoring social channels, identifying language patterns, request frequency, and other data intelligence, can help predict the most common customer issues and resolve them before they rise to an equipment stoppage. It also saves time and effort and takes some of the pressure off of your service agents, while simultaneously creating happy customers with met service needs.

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