The new generation of customers create a unique challenge
for retailers who pride themselves on customer service. The speed, reach and
transparency of social media provide the customer who wants service on their
own terms with a strong voice. When brands fail to deliver, customers feel
unheard and disappointed, quick to express their frustration through social
channels. Brands have learned the hard way about the consequences of ignoring customers
on social media channels, when these missteps go viral and turn into PR
nightmares. Just ask United Airlines whose baggage handlers destroyed a customer’s
Taylor guitar. United did not provide him with a reimbursement, so he created a YouTube video song
highlighting how horrible their customer service was. The video went viral and caused an onslaught of bad PR while being viewed over 13 million times.
Segment your customers
Your customers are divided into many groups based on their habits, age and technology preference. The older crowd will still opt-in to wait on the phone line, while the more digitally savvy crowd will be more likely to send you a tweet. Find out who is more likely to reach out to you on social channels and why. A deeper segmentation can be made based on the kind of transactions they most likely need help with. Are they contacting you because of the late delivery? Warranty? Returns? If you start seeing a trend within a certain segment, be proactive and post relevant information about the issue on your social channels to help the customer solve the problem on their own.
Be on time
The biggest mistake retailers make when providing customer service on social media is taking too long to respond. Social media moves at the speed of light and customers expect you to respond accordingly. Waiting a day on Twitter is like waiting a week in real time. Most of the digitally savvy customers expect a reply within 2 to 4 hours. Plan and train your staff to accommodate this reality?.
Invest in the digital platform
Growing your social media customer service is an investment. Its success will not come over night and will depend on how aggressive you are in letting your customers know that this channel is open. Even if you have an excellent system set in place, if nobody knows about it, it will not catch on. The success of your social customer service will depend on how happy and satisfied your customers feel after the interaction with your brand. If you failed to answer their questions and they feel like their time is wasted, their reaction will reflect those feelings. If you solved their problem and made their life easier, a retweet and word of mouth on social media will do wonders for your brand.
As new digital platforms start to catch on with customers, retailers need to adopt their customer service strategy to accommodate those needs. Failure to do so will result in unhappy customers with locked and loaded negative messages about your brand ready to send out to their social networks. Remember, every digital touch point your customer experiences is a representation of your brand which has a potential to be broadcasted to thousands of people in a matter of seconds. What experience will you create?