The pandemic is forcing businesses to rethink aspects of their customer service.
As waves of the virus come and go, and various areas of the country (and world) deal with different restrictions, businesses need to find a consistent way to provide customer service.
You could say that social media was built for this sort of situation. Using social, brands can respond to customers 24/7 no matter where their teams are working.
Businesses must continue to provide excellent service, as it is really becoming a brand differentiator. Customers want to be heard. They want responses to show empathy and understanding. Brands need to have skilled customer service agents who have the creativity, confidence and authority to communicate clearly and effectively.
But it goes beyond simply being responsive on social. Brands must be proactive.
What makes proactive customer service so effective?
The aim of any business should be to provide a frictionless experience for their customers. It’s especially important now, when we’re all feeling somewhat frayed at the edges.
Customers may go through several stages before sending a complaint to a brand, but in other cases they may send the complaint directly on social, depending on their circumstances. There’s no guarantee how quickly they will get a response and even a resolution.
Proactive customer care takes a lot of busy work away from customers and let’s them focus on enjoying the positive aspects of the brand, instead of spending more time focusing on what it’s doing wrong.
Five steps brands can take to become more proactive about social customer care
- Use social listening tools
Customers won’t always contact the brand when they have a problem. Sometimes they’ll choose to post on social media – and not @ mention the brand. They may do this because they’re frustrated, but don’t expect to get anywhere if they contact the brand directly. They could also mention the brand in a positive way.
- Offer help
Brands need skilled social media customer service agents to make the most of that social listening technology.
Being proactive is about taking a calculated risk. Yes, some people may find it a bit intrusive. All they did was mention X brand on Twitter, and suddenly the brand is right there demanding attention!
But if it’s done right, it can seek out great opportunities to surprise and delight customers.
For the best chance of a positive result, be open, friendly and supportive. Brands should tailor the message to the person it’s addressed to, and it should focus on their specific situation straight away.
- Provide ways to self-serve
Brands can save both customers and employees a lot of time by providing a good self-service system on their website. This frees up the customer service agent to seek out proactive opportunities.
Things like knowledge sections, FAQs and chatbots (to answer simple questions), can give customers a way to seek out answers for themselves. It’s especially effective for people who don’t like to feel that situations are out of their control.
We’re all familiar with having an issue with a business and a customer service agent telling us that someone will call back in an hour/day/week, only they don’t.
If a customer has an issue with their account or they have a complaint that a customer service agent fixed, it’s worth having a policy around getting back in touch. Let the customer know that someone will follow up – for example, in a week – to see how things are going. Then keep that promise.
- Ask for feedback – and show that you’ve acted on it
People are notoriously bad at remembering to give feedback when they’ve had a positive experience. Brands need to follow-up after an issue is resolved, or a delivery is made, to ask about the customer’s experience.
It should be simple – a star rating and a text box to provide optional feedback is great.
It’s also a good idea to let customers know what happens as a result of their feedback. Having things like employee spotlights on social media – where you celebrate someone who’s received exceptional feedback, for example – shows customers that what they say matters. It should make them more likely to engage with the brand.
Proactive customer service is about spotting opportunities that go above and beyond what people expect from you. It’s about putting the customer at the centre of your social media.
Great, proactive service creates a frictionless experience and proves that the business cares about customer experience and feedback. When it’s used well, proactive social customer service can be a huge benefit to brands.
For more insights on creating value from social media customer service, download our whitepaper.