Seven years ago, Mashable launched Social Media Day, which encourages users to "recognize and celebrate social media's impact on global communication." While it's safe to say accelerating social use has effectively made every day Social Media Day, the event reinforces the new customer service reality: When it comes to engaging, assisting, and empowering customers, social networks rule the roost. The result is that companies need a better way to conduct social business. From cloud-based call center solutions to unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), here's a look at how to empower your social media must-haves:
What Consumers Want
Great customer service depends on an active social media presence. As noted by Social Media Today, 70 percent of Twitter users expect a response from brands they engage, with more than half expecting this response within an hour. And if a tweet contains negative feedback or a complaint, this hourly expectation hits 72 percent. Meanwhile, data from Sprout Social found that while 75 percent of consumers appreciated humor from companies on social media, 71 percent were annoyed when brands spoke out about politics, and 88 percent didn't enjoy brands mocking their own fans.
There's a fine line when it comes to social media customer service and engagement. Brands must be responsive and polite while still having enough of an edge to attract new fans and generate positive attention online. So, while it's tempting to hold up sass-heavy brands such as Wendy's or T-Mobile as ideal social simulators, companies are better served focusing on what really matters to consumers: speedy response times and the occasional chuckle. Don't get carried away.
Speaking of getting carried away, it's easy to set up Facebook and Twitter accounts, start posting, and then discover you have no effective way to control what goes out or manage user responses when they come flooding in. You could end up making social media gaffes such as missing key follow-up opportunities or doubling down on "sorry not sorry" apologies when you should be contrite and considerate.
So, what's the solution? You need a way to easily and effectively manage outgoing and incoming content from a single point of contact. For this, consider UCaaS tools backed by cloud-based call center solutions. With these tools, content can come in or out over any channel, including mobile, desktop, social media sites, or traditional phone calls, and is then unified at a cloud-based communications center. In turn, you're able to quickly make the appropriate response to any social contact. Better still, since you're getting the whole picture, it's far less likely you'll make a social gaffe or mobile misstep.
Your New Social Strategy
Here's what it all means: You need a better social media strategy. You need a way to engage with customers 24/7 on the devices of their choice and respond meaningfully to their concerns. It's no longer enough to employ staffers who work from 9:00 to 5:00. You need a way to keep branded social media channels open and operational all day, every day.
First, design a social media policy. Decide whether you're going to create a brand handle and who is going to run it. Will different employees share the responsibility, or will a single social expert have control? Select a tone for your brand — politely funny is a good choice, but you could also opt for a more subdued approach or high-energy responsiveness that attempts to engage users. Whatever you pick, keep it consistent. In addition, specify what's fair game and what's off the table. Branded social profiles have to walk the line between personable and corporately accountable.
Next, figure out how to respond quickly to customer concerns, regardless of business hours. Recognize your response must be public. Users will share your interaction regardless, so make sure you're addressing the issue up front, apologizing as needed, and using well-trained staff to effectively engage customers. Chatbots are great, but they're not quite up to the task.
Then, it's time for the nitty-gritty. You need access to CRM tools, social platforms, and customer data anytime, anywhere. A UCaaS solution is one way to bundle existing services and effectively make social tools mobile, but for global companies looking to satisfy an international audience, a cloud-based call center solution empowered by UCaaS may be the ideal endpoint. It provides 24/7 staff can quickly respond to concerns from any user, on any device, at any time.
Social media is the new face of customer service. Make sure you're prepared for a mobile world that puts great emphasis on response times and public interactions.
Are you ready to learn more about UCaaS? Talk to a Vonage Business expert.