Social customer care is by definition more personal than the classic call center model. But we tend to assume that by engaging customers via social media, we are naturally being personal. It’s not quite that simple. Countless brands fail everyday to make their customer care truly engaging because they treat customers like cases and agents like employees instead of real people.
From the channels your customer care agents use, to the amount of autonomy they have, and also the language they use when communicating, missing the mark with a customer — even once — makes it less likely that you’ll maintain their loyalty. Here are four ways to keep social care personal, courtesy of some of the thought leaders and key influencers in the industry.
No matter how great your agents are with customers, if they’re not on the right channels, they might as well be talking to themselves. The use of live chat soared from 30% in 2009 to 52% in 2013 and continues to climb, according to this white paper from Zendesk. Nearly a third of consumers expect live support to be available when they come into contact with a brand, and customers have also reported the highest satisfaction rates on live chat (73%) as compared to traditional platforms like email (61%) or phone (44%). Chat is the perfect tool to make your employees more productive and efficient, all while keeping expenses down. If your brand isn’t using it, you’re missing a big part of the conversation.
Once you’re on the right channels, you need to know how to talk with your customers. A no-brainer? Think again. Developing a real rapport with customers is one of the big challenges of sales, marketing, and customer care. You want to do your best to establish and maintain rapport. Unfortunately, destroying all that hard work doesn’t take long. But you don’t have to make that mistake, if you avoid some of the approaches discussed in this white paper from New Voice Media. You can start by never asking “Have I caught you at a bad time?” And that’s just the beginning.
Even with great social customer care up and running, it’s a real challenge for brands to replicate that face-to-face feeling online. Delivering great customer experience is much easier in-store than via social. This case study from Sparkcentral, which looks at high-end retailers, has some great tips. The bottom line is that when customers pay more, they expect more. So every brand needs to be listening to their customers across all channels, and be ready to respond. Customers expect undivided attention, whether they’re shopping online or in the store. It’s up to you to give it to them.
It’s also up to you to give your customer care agents what they need. Conveying a sense of warmth over social media is tricky, and it has everything to do with how your agents are feeling. You might not think about it much, but they’ve got a challenging task: to be helpful, engaging, and personal at once, all while staying on-brand. This webinar from Sparkcentral is a great guide to some of the different software that can help your brand personalize your communications with customers, and empower your agents to play a critical role in customer service.
How does your brand keep social care personal? We’d love to hear from you!