If your brand is talking to your customers on social media, how do you know if you are living up to their expectations? How do you know you're truly providing value to your customers? Brands often believe social media is about applying the wittiest tone of voice, and being the cool kid around the block by rewarding your customers with silly gifts. No, true social media engagement is all about being able to engage and reply in real-time to your customers' issues and complaints. If not, customers will easily flock to a competitor.
According to an Immediate Future report on real-time social media engagement, 51% of brands believe real-time social media engagement is their biggest challenge on social media. Always on, always connected customers demand quick and easy solutions, on the fly, to the the issues they're dealing with on a daily basis. Unfortunately, brands can't live up to those expectations and are quickly losing customers, money, and time.
So how can brands meet their customers' expectations? How can you rapidly take matters into your own hands?
1. Reply to Customer Queries Within The Hour
According to Hubshout, 72% of customers expect brands to reply within the hour. In most cases, they simply want their voice to be heard. "We are very sorry for the inconvenience and are dedicating all our efforts to find a solution to your problem" sounds like music to their ears. Just let them know you care, and apologize for the issue. Never forget that brands are just a quick online search away: if brands don't provide a swift and timely reply, customers will easily feel uncared for.
If you want to be able to reply within the hour, there's only one thing left to do: organize, and get your act together. Make sure your social media team feels empowered enough to deal with heavy stress levels and knows what to do in a variety of scenarios (e.g. during a crisis, when dealing with complex questions, etc.). Your employees truly are the backbone of any successful organization. Beyond your team, organize your incoming messages and structure the way you're going to reply. With the help of advanced monitoring and filtering, and organizing your data through specific mailboxes, each social media team member will easily follow up on every incoming customer query.
2. Add Context to A Conversation
Customers don't want to go through too much hassle to get a solution to their problems. Plus, they want personalized, real conversations. It's often the case that large enterprises find it hard to make sense of interactions. They fail to integrate and structure all of the information about their individual customers to help customize conversations and make them more relevant and authentic.
Brands should be able to quickly identify and acknowledge their issues by scanning through customers' profiles. By collecting information about previous interactions, each new question can be put in a certain context. To make better sense of future interactions and rapidly solve problems, brands should be able to create well-rounded, and complete profiles of their customers.
3. Collect Up To Date Information In An Online Knowledge Hub
When it comes to responding in real-time, brands need to be able to present customers with accurate information in a very dynamic and straightforward way. That's why brands' support centers (or online knowledge hubs) should be extensive and continuously updated in order for social media teams to easily find and pass on accurate information through relevant links to the right people.
Customers don't want to be continuously redirected to internal "specialists" or outdated forms on static web pages. Customers simply demand timely, easy-to-consume information. How you handle complaints online speaks volumes about your business. Therefore, customer feedback is crucial. Unfortunately, large enterprises are often clueless when it comes to the type of questions customers frequently ask. To optimize their products and services, brands must get a better hold on the issues people struggle with.