Social media has changed the way people use internet. It has redefined how marketers market, how businesses do business and how people live their social lives. It gave birth to a whole new niche of market with unlimited opportunities. It has made having a presence on social media important, be it a brand or an individual. With their customers on social media, every brand has a need and necessity to encounter their problems on social media. This has given rise to Social Care.
What is Social Care?
In simple terms, it means providing customer service online. Social media is a different paradigm altogether. You need to monitor all the social networks and each social network has a different set of users. Social care requires you to be very delicate because your behavior towards a customer decides your brand image. Your potential customers will also be privy to what you are saying there so it is extremely important.
Why is Social care important?
People prefer to use social media to register their problems rather than to call or go to their website because emails and phone calls are considered as the tortoises of the social era. This is why people use social media to register their complaints or express their gratitude.
2 of the primary reasons that people follow a particular brand on a social network are because they want to get in touch directly with the customer support team or for letting the brand know that they are facing a problem.
Sometimes users have a bad experience with your product and they want to let everyone know about that. This is where you make or break your brand’s reputation. Social care teams specializes in dealing with these situations. With so many social networking channels, customers expect a multi-channel support and an immediate response.
Social media is where every brand needs to show how much they care about their customers and how well they take care of them. Answering your customers and doing it in a polite and witty manner is a great practice for social care. Some examples are SlackHQ, Virgin, Tesco Mobile.
Social care gives your brand a personality. This is what makes social care important.
Social Care as the Voice Of A Brand
It is important to understand that brands alone are responsible for their image on social media rather than their customers. Keeping your customers happy is what counts rather than keeping them hanging. A research shows that 88% of new customers will not opt to use any product if they see any unanswered question on social media. That’s not it, if your answers are not well thought out, things can quickly backfire and everyone will be there to see it.
This is why you need people in your Social care team that know how to use different social networks, have a sense of how people use social media and how to answer to them on the behalf of a brand.
You need to make your brand a social media rockstar!
Social care is how you make people connect with your brand online. On social networks, it’s not only about solving issues, it’s also about conveying your users the value of your business. This process never sleeps. You need to talk to the users round the clock. Social care is just one channel of customer service but it is something that your brand cannot afford to miss because opening all channels of communication is what drives any company’s financial growth.
Social Care as customer service
Today in the millennial era, how a brand engages with customers online is what impacts the company’s sales and customer loyalty.
Despite e-mails being the primary channel for customer support, social media has a far wider reach and a deeper impact on a brand’s image and customer loyalty. Great social care gives the customers a sense of security that they are investing their time and energy in the right place and maintaining this feeling is of paramount importance.
Importance of Customer Service team in the company
Social care has changed team dynamics as well.
The customer service teams have a responsibility to relay relevant information to different teams inside the company. They are responsible for collecting and analyzing the data like what issues people are facing, what time of day are your customers active, what is their level of satisfaction etc. They have to listen to the data on social networks and organize this information for other teams to capitalize on.
Having first hand worked in customer experience at Statusbrew, I’ve learned the importance of my team’s role. Keeping our users happy is our responsibility and replying them as soon as possible is one of the many steps we take to ensure that. As a global standard, on email users expect the first reply time to be less than 24 hours.
This is what we have achieved.
On social media, almost 40% of the people that register a complaint, expect an answer within 1 hour but the average response time from businesses it 5 hours, according to this study.
We are also working our way up on this social ladder. In this process, I have learned and practiced a lot of techniques that have worked for us that are worth giving a try.
1. Be expressive
Being expressive is very important on social media. It adds that ‘cool’ factor to your brand’s image and it’s not a secret that on social media, cool is good. In addition to being good with words, I try to add emoticons that can help me convey my feelings to our users in a better way.
2. Be precise
Don’t try to stretch the conversation unnecessarily. Solving your users problem should be your priority. Don’t overwhelm the user with too much information, tell him only what he needs to know.
3. Always appreciate your users time
Doesn’t matter how angry or at ease the user is, he took the time to let you know about the issue. Always appreciate that. Sometimes solving a user’s problem can take time. It is not easy for him to wait till it gets resolved. You should always thank them for their patience.
@OmariMC Sorry for the delay. We'll shortly reply back to your email. Thank you for your patience.— Statusbrew Support (@sb_help) October 11, 2016
4. Never let questions go unanswered
As mentioned above, letting queries go unanswered is bad for your image. It will repel incoming customers. Replying late and following up on that user can be better than no reply at all.
5. Predicting the complexity of the conversation
Social media is public. You should know when to take things private. Sometimes you will need to ask the user for some sensitive information or try to explain something in detail. It would be very unwise to do it over a Tweet or a Facebook comment. You should move to email or DMs.
6. Apologize, when it is needed.
Some users, even though angry, have real issues. Instead of becoming defensive, thank them for bringing this issue to your attention and empathize with them.
Others just use social media platforms to defame the brand rather than coming to you with a genuine query. In these cases silence is the best reply.
@pasta26mc Sorry for the inconvenience. We were in the process of upgrading. It should be working fine now. Could you please check again?— Statusbrew Support (@sb_help) January 2, 2017
Today, these people responsible for social care have taken the responsibility of taking customer experience from acceptable to exceptional.
In conclusion, responsibilities of customer service increase when we move to any social network because when your audience reads and listens to the content you produce, they’re not only hearing your message, they’re hearing the voice of your company—your tone, language and delivery.
P.S. When your users are happy with you, they will tell everyone about it.