Social Media’s Impact on Customer Experience
Social media is increasingly becoming a larger piece of the Customer Experience (CX) puzzle, meaning that a brand’s actions on social – both marketing and service – greatly affect the overall public perception of the brand.
How Social Media Is Different
If CX is the sum of all interactions a customer has with a brand across all channels, then of course social media interactions would be included. But social stands out from other channels for several reasons, because it is:
Social media is also a unique channel because it is, by definition, social. Many brands forget the social part of social media and instead treat it like any other media channel – with a proverbial megaphone that makes the brand’s voice louder than anyone else’s. The problem with this approach is that no one wakes up in the morning and checks Facebook or Twitter or Instagram hoping to hear from a brand. But people are indeed interested in engaging with brands they like, and social media is a great channel for that. Social requires brands to talk with people instead of at them.
It is also important to note that in social media, the power shifts from the brand to the consumer. When brands exceed (or miss) expectations, consumers react by telling their friends and followers. Thus, it is extremely important that social media managers keep a close watch on both social initiatives and offline initiatives that have the potential to come online.
Social Media Marketing
A brand’s presence in social media usually begins with its profile page. This is the place where a company can show off its products or services, people, values, culture, and hopefully personality.
A great example is KLM’s (Royal Dutch Airlines) Twitter profile page. It is clean, brand right, and establishes a clear focus on customer service with a real-time response time indicator.
To enhance the overall customer experience with social media marketing, a brand should:
Highlight its personality
Provide “Youtility” (useful content) to its audience
Make its content shareableAlways be relevant
The brand should also be careful not to blanket paid or promoted content, which can become annoying to prospects and existing customers alike.
Social Media Customer Service
“Customer service is the new marketing” is becoming a more and more popular mantra, especially as it pertains to the social media channel. Why? Because more and more customers are turning to social media to ask questions, file complaints, and occasionally even send compliments. While many customers proactively come to a brand’s Facebook page or @mention a brand on Twitter, many others initiate service requests as a reply to brand marketing that they see in their feed. Thus, social marketing and customer service teams must be closely aligned on content, staffing, and response times.
Jay Baer of Convince & Convert recently teamed with Edison Research to look closely at social media customer service. Among their findings:
62% of first complaints are made via phone or e-mailOnly 40% of social media complaints are addressed39% of social media complainers expect a response within 1 hour, but social media complaints (if answered at all) are addressed in an average of 5 hoursResponding to a complaint in social media increases customer advocacy by 20%, but not responding to a complaint in social media decreases customer advocacy by 45%
The upshot of this data is that brands must double down on their efforts to service customers in social media. But social care needs to be integrated into the larger service organization so that social agents are equally trained and empowered. If not, customers may experience one answer in one channel and a “better” answer in another channel – and they will take advantage.
To enhance the overall customer experience with social media customer service, a brand should:
Serve the customer in their channel of choiceRespond to everything: Praise, Questions, ComplaintsPractice “First Tweet Resolution” – solving the inquiry in one responseUse DM or chat to take private information out of a public spaceMake it easy for customers to interact – look at service hours, available channels, whether your Facebook wall is open to posts, and whether you are using one or more Twitter handles
In short, a relentless focusing on the customer – which is the heart of CX theory – will also lead to success in social media. One measure of this success is that the engagement rate on customer service responses – that is, the number of clicks, likes, retweets, comments, etc. after a customer service inquiry is resolved – will be many times that of even the best marketing effort.