The other evening I caught part of Marketplace‘s Canada’s Worst Customer Service: Store Edition on the CBC. The show explored customer service at some of Canada’s major retail chains and as much as I found the show predictable (and slightly contrived), what piqued my interest the most was a segment where three dissatisfied customers were instructed to post a complaint on Twitter (directly to a brand).
Marketplace then judged the company’s customer service based on how much time elapsed before the company responded to the complaints. Out of the three companies contacted, only one responded—24 hours later. This appalled the consumers, and the CBC host.
As we all have heard, this new breed of consumer—the social shopper—no longer just researches and purchases products and services online. They also announce to the world (well, their 200 friends on Facebook) whether or not they were satisfied with their purchases. And, with this comes a heightened expectation for companies and brands to be more social, to use social platforms as a customer service tool and to respond to these complaints or accolades.
Although I fully believe brands should use social media as a tool to dialogue with their customers, I also believe that companies need to understand the true meaning of what customer service really is before they jump into the social space. Just because your brand or company has set up a Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest account as part of your business communication, doesn’t mean you will automatically be deemed as social. Being social is a two-way street.
Organizations need to look at their core customer service practice and develop a strategy before they begin. And before jumping into social, they need to ask themselves some basic questions:
- Can we manage a social network channel for customer service?
- What value can we provide to the customer?
- Do we have the internal knowledge and resources to be successful?
If you answer no to any of these questions, then a brand really needs to step back and develop a Social Listening Strategy for their customer service.
Our team recently worked with a leading digital technology company to develop a social media program designed to increase the brand’s reach to potential customers, while building a local presence and trusted relationships with its audience.
Following several focus groups with customers and internal stakeholders, we developed a strategy to help the client disseminate credible and relevant content along with a listening, monitoring and responding framework that could be applied to other lines of business within the organization.
Through the development and execution of strong content and engagement strategies, the client maintained an average 87 per cent social share of voice, drowning out their competitors – all the while keeping positive sentiment above 20 per cent and negative sentiment below four per cent.
For more on Customer Listening, see the Capabilities section of our website.
[Photo from Flickr by db0yd13]