Customer service - the new marketing mantra in the social media era

Bhupendra Khanal CEO Simplify 360

Social media and social networks are no more in its infancy, it’s evolving. Today social media offers new means to consumers to connect and interact with people, events and brands that matter to them. It is no more just a marketing tool. It is increasingly becoming the best medium for customer service and support. Social networking is now truly a global phenomenon.

Some of the key challenges faced by customer service department and call centres today are the long hours for tracking the actual problem, cost of responding to each complaint, lack of coordination between the team, tracking the issue and creating reports. Companies are increasingly optimizing their processes yet consumers seem to switch to other brands with better service. After all, the key to brand loyalty is good service provided by the company.

As more and more customers turn to social media, frustrated by unanswered emails, long waiting calls at call centres; social media is definitely the next wave of change in the customer service era. Hence, leading brands be it in travel, fashion, retail or the banking business have been quick in turning towards social media to handle their customer support and services. Though very few organizations have figured out how to actually use social media effectively to achieve their enterprise goals, organizations like KLM, Wal-Mart, Next Online, Tesco, Air Asia and Xbox are some the best examples in this field.

Organizations who have adapted social media for customer support and services address to three major issues to optimize the process and deliver customer support and service effectively:

1.Tracking complaints and queries across all channels

2. Responding effectively to complaints and tracking its effectiveness

3. Coordination with the customer support team

In addition to these, social media helps in reducing customer support cost and drives customer advocacy. Brands today acknowledge their fault and deal with customers sympathetically, turning each complaint to a brand advocate. This phenomenon is popularly known as ‘complaint-turned-brand-advocate’.

Many a times it is difficult to recognize unhappy customers. Over 62% of customers use social media for customer service and feedback and all of those who have received a positive response have recommended the brand. But on the other hand, if the issue is handled poorly then 85% of customers switch to other brands. Many a time’s consumers do not tell a company that they are unsatisfied with their service but their business suffers. In which case it becomes even more important for any brand to ensure they engage and provide good customer service all the time.

Small businesses must understand the growing expectations from social media. They must proactively respond and must value complaints. It should be kept in mind that social media users spend 40% more than other customers.To match up to the trend, these companies must ensure that customer service department and contact centres are more actively involved in setting up the social media strategy for the organization. Else, it’s going to hurt them eventually.

 (The author is Chief Executive Officer, Simplify 360)