Monday, March 23, 2015

Social Media- A Shift in Customer Service

By: Anna Sabryan

During the last few years, many changes happened in technology that has impacted people and business alike.  Social media has allowed for increased human interaction along with the rapid dissemination of information and conversations.  Included in this, is the way customers choose to communicate with companies.

While the majority of contact center communications were being conducted via phone, today people have other preferences.  Social media has changed the face of the customer service.  A new generation chooses social channels as the best communication route.  Smartphones play a major role in this.  It is suggested that mobile devices are responsible for 60 percent of all online traffic.

Research indicates that 62% of customers use social media for customer service, and 47% of social media users said they “actively seek” customer service through social media.  In addition, 55% expect a response that same day!

Customer experience is becoming more important than the product itself.  It goes without saying that businesses want to create a customer base which brings in other customers.  This can only happen if customers are happy not only with your products or services, but the entire experience with the company  as a whole.

I’m not afraid to say that the existence of call centers in its current state is challenged with a litany of indicting questions.  Chief among them, is how to respond to the rapid changes and technology for the good of the customer.  For the most part, users turn to social channels for support, where they are likely to receive faster response times.  As such, social seems to be trending upward as a customer service channel.  According to
Social Bakers, "the number of questions asked on brand pages on Facebook has increased by 85 percent over the last year”.

Social media has become the top internet activity for the masses.  In fact, it’s easier to engage via social channels.  A benefit of social customer care is that you don’t need any extra time to free yourself from your current activity to call a contact center.  Many people sit in front of the computer all day long and social provides a quicker option for help.  You  are allowed to continue with your day and receive the response to your inquiry with minimal effort.  In many cases, it is the best way  to communicate with a company.  However, not all brands have turned to social care yet, or they are not quite good at it.

There is also a big down side for the brands using social media if they don't provide timely responses.  People seem to become more negative towards the brand.  Research suggests 74% of customers believe they will get better service if they criticize a brand via social media.

Being present on social channels is a necessity for brands.  However, there is more to it. Businesses should be active and engaging. Of greatest importance, is keeping your reputation in good standing.  This is possible when delivering great customer service along with honesty and transparency.

With that said, let's face the demands and challenges and WOW our customers!  As Biju Paulose said, “Take good care of your customers and they will take care of your business.” 

Anna Sabryan is a CS Social Media Expert and Blogger. She is passionate about customer service, digital marketing, social media and cloud. 

Anna was named one of ICMI's Top 50 Contact Center Thought Leaders on Twitter. Follow Anna on Twitter (@AnnaSabryan) or on her blog.

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