When it comes to customer service, we have seen a revolution in our times, and its name is Social Media. Current studies show that nearly half of all consumers
expect a response within an hour when they’ve reached out via a social channel.
For brands, this presents challenges as well as amazing opportunities.
Social media strategist Jay Baer refers to a “disillusionment gap,” which he defines as the time between when a customer expects a response and when a brand can actually deliver one. It’s important to recognize that the risks of consumer disillusionment go beyond simple questions of response time.
Suzanne Delzio hit the nail on the head when she wrote, “Social channels are a sign of a company’s dedication to transparency, accountability, and even customer service!” When refining response times and techniques, it is vital that a company remembers that their actions represent the brand’s values.
If you reply late to a customer service query, you run the risk of disappointing or even angering that customer. If you do respond on time (and with an effective response), you actually increase loyalty, which presents a clear opportunity. What’s particularly compelling about the new social age of customer service is that the opportunities don’t just stop there. Anything that can happen in real time can be tracked in real time.
Instead of being intimidated by the challenges of real-time expectations, think instead of the opportunity for real-time insights. With the range of utility offered by social media management tools, brands can now efficiently monitor, measure, and track social content. Real-time analytics become real-time responses, and actionable data becomes relationship building.
Customer service in the social age
Social customer service is an inescapable reality, but it’s not as simple as establishing a social presence and answering questions when they come in. A recent Gallup study shows that while 80 percent of companies thinking they’re delivering “superior” customer service, only 8 percent of customers agree with them! True customer service stimulates engagement.
Researchers state, “Our data reveal that a customer who is fully engaged represents an average 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer. In stark contrast, an actively disengaged customer represents a 13 percent discount in those same measures.”
So when your customers reach out, make sure you have real-time processes in place to enable you to respond quickly. And make sure yours is a response that resolves problems, evolves relationships, affirms trust, and engenders loyalty.
For more strategies to engage customers, see How to Deliver a Coordinated Customer Experience Across Every Channel.