Three-quarters of the world’s population uses social media in some form or fashion, including digital natives, Baby Boomers, even last night’s chicken parmigiana. And of course, businesses are no exception to this — and not just from a brand recognition and marketing standpoint. Today’s consumers expect their favorite brands to have a strong social media presence so they can engage with them on everything from product launches to customer support. When they don’t receive positive engagement from you on social, they won’t hesitate to turn elsewhere – becoming “support nomads.”
And the repercussions of not having a strong social presence can be staggering. A Sprout Social study found that 30% of consumers would opt for a brand’s competitor if it offered better customer support on social media channels And companies that rely solely on voice support will be interested to learn that consumer preference for social support has skyrocketed by 110% .
On the flipside, the companies that are embracing social media as a major support channel are seeing increased customer satisfaction and higher organic brand advocacy. But when done wrong, good intentions can have bad implications – because simply being present and responsive is not enough.
Your customers still rely on you for support on traditional channels (e.g., phone and email) and non-traditional ones (e.g., SMS, live chat, and social media). But they no longer rely solely on you for the right answers. Those “support nomads” don’t shy away from finding the right answers on their own, whether that is from review forums like Reddit, customer videos from YouTube, or simple trial-and-error troubleshooting. If those answers aren’t readily available (and easy to follow), support nomads may choose your competitor — or worse.
Word-of-mouth has long been an outlet for negative customer experiences (CX). Jilted customers may tell their friends and family about their poor support and urge them to choose your competitor. Now though, social media has provided an organic way to amplify their frustrations. And if you don’t proactively mitigate those frustrations, your customers may put you “on blast”. There are few things worse for a brand than to go viral for the wrong reasons.
With these new and fluid CX dynamics in mind, how do you avoid going viral? Here are a couple of ways to start:
#1 Don’t Ignore Social Media as a Support Channel
Most companies today treat social media customer care as an afterthought and a last resort channel, instead of a two-way conversational platform to improve the customer experience, proactively mitigate risks, and unlock opportunities for value creation (i.e., retention, referrals, and revenue).
Traditional operating models position social media as just another customer service channel, providing fragmented support with cross-functional silos between marketing and care, disjointed point solutions, and canned content. For companies that choose to underinvest and underdeliver in this critical support channel, they’ll likely face a staggering opportunity cost.
From a CX perspective, delivering the same outstanding experiences on social media as on traditional channels has some unique benefits:
You’ll demonstrate your focus on the entire customer journey, not just your bread-and-butter offerings.
You’ll be able to share positive support experiences in a public way in real time. Following a good customer interaction with a swift resolution, you may be able to share that thread with your followers and organically using hashtags.
#2 Use Social Media as an Opportunity to Listen to Your Customers
Social platforms provide a unique way for your customers to be candid and vocal about their experiences. Whether prompted or unprompted, your customers talk about you in a public-facing way — and not looking at what they have to say is a mistake.
Look at mentions of your brand on social media. Capitalize on the good things your customers have to say about you, and proactively mitigate the bad. For example, if a customer asks their followers a troubleshooting question, reach out to them and offer to help them through their issue. Simple proactivity can go a long way with helping that individual customer, but it may also keep you from going viral.
Before You Go….
Social media isn’t going anywhere — either as a networking platform or as a customer support channel. VXI is at the forefront of social media support and can help your business elevate its offerings, adapt to support nomads, and ensure you don’t get left behind.
Click here to learn more.