Social media has changed customer service forever.
Today, we simply don't have the patience (or spare time) to call customer support (only to be put on hold for an hour). We want microwave-speed for everything -- customer service included.
As a consumer, I expect businesses to listen to me and respond quickly. The faster and more favorable the response, the happier and more loyal I'll be to their brand.
There's plenty of room for improvement, though. Some brands STILL don't get it.
According to a study by Social Bakers, brands only answered 30% of user questions tweeted to them in Q1 2015. That means only 3 in 10 people are getting a response (on Twitter) after reaching out to a brand. Moreover, the average wait before getting a response is over 9 hr!
For this week's #ViralChat, we invited multi-talented marketing expert, Marsha Collier, to be our guest. Marsha is the author of 48 books -- one titled "The Ultimate Online Customer Service Guide: How to Connect with your Customers to Sell More!"
(Find out more about Marsha on her Facebook Fan Page.)
One thing for sure: Customer service is something Marsha Collier is absolutely passionate about! It was evident in her answers and in the audience's response to this #ViralChat.
Here's the summary of what went down during the hour.
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How to Deliver Outstanding Customer Service with Social Media
Q1. How has social media impacted customer service?
Customer service via social media empowers businesses to solve problems on-the-fly and build trust through transparency. @marshacollier
- Social Media has enabled customer service visible in a way it was not before. Brands now have to deal with things publicly. @MrsMAFoodie
- Social Media has made it easier for complaints to spread, it demands companies to be there. @saulternative
Q2. How can businesses use social media to support objectives and build/maintain customer relationships?
Be customer focused. Be sure your posts are on topics that resonate with the brand you are hoping to build. @marshacollier
- Be more human! Start treating your #socialmedia profile more like a personal page than your business/brand page. @socialmediawpb
- Social is a canary in the mine: If you’re listening, your customers will tell you how to improve & what you are doing right @AlHopper_
Q3. How does customer service support on social media directly impact reputation management?
People do business with people they like. By connecting on social, more people may do business with you. @marshacollier
- If someone has a bad experience, there are going to tag you and make sure everyone knows so brands are more conscious now. @abelekene
- Customers take a brand's pulse through their social media networks. Those channels need to be alive with activity. @@FreshSparks
Q4. How can a small business maintain a high level of customer service on social media without outsourcing?
You can't win on every transaction, but by replying on social media it shows that you make the effort. @marshacollier
- A small business can designate just one person for #socialmedia and remain more consistent. @BalouGold
- Small businesses may even benefit more by bringing their human factor and continue to be more personable. @husamerciyes
Q5. How can small businesses keep up with all the social platforms available today?
Even a small business has someone attending to emails. That person should monitor social mentions as well. @marshacollier
- Focus! Don't be everything to everyone. Spend the most time where your people are, before you try to grow the next platform. @LUCYrk78
- Don't try to be all things to everyone, everywhere. Pick a channel or two your customer age group will likely use & focus there. @@JKatzaman
Q6. How fast should companies be expected to respond on social media?
From our #custserv chats, we've seen that the expectation for small business is a 24-hour window for response. @marshacollier
- I want a QUALITY answer in 24 hrs. No need to respond shallowly right away. Unless, of course, I'm stuck somewhere ~@jeremypound
- As fast as you can. Customers don't like to be kept waiting. Most probably not more than a day. @DlinkersSEO
How to Deliver Outstanding Customer Service with Social Media -- Summary
The demand for customer service on social media is grown beyond a desire -- it is an expectation. Brands and companies that miss the boat on this topic are losing opportunity and losing customers.
What's your experience been with online customer service? Does your company provide it? Post Planner and Marsha Collier would love to hear your observations and suggestions. Comments are open!