How-to Guide

What is Social Customer Service?

What is Social Customer Service?
We buy from a company because it delivers quality products, great value, or a compelling brand. We leave one, more often than not, because it fails to deliver on customer service.
Harvard Business Review

As long as there have been customers, there has been customer service. For thousands of years, customer service was done in person. However, in just a few decades, support has evolved from face-to-face interaction, to call centers, to email correspondence, to digital or social media customer service.

Social media is the first channel where the customer is in control of where the interaction happens, deciding where they want to communicate.1 Your job is to give them the tools to make the interaction easy and natural.2

While great products improve customer satisfaction, the best product in the world can’t make up for the dissatisfaction caused by poor customer service. #SocialCX

When aiming to delight customers, more often than not we focus more on delivering quality products or a good value instead of providing exceptional customer care. While great products improve customer satisfaction, the best product in the world can’t make up for the dissatisfaction caused by poor customer service.3 Check out how these three brands have evolved their social media customer service approach to exceed their customers’ expectations.

Sprint Securely Resolves Issues on Social

Social media should make the customer experience better, not worse. Yet consumers are often forced to switch from a social platform to another channel when interacting with a brand for customer-related issues. Even worse, when transferred to a new channel, they’re asked to repeat information. In the past, Sprint needed to deflect all social inquiries involving account data to phone in order to authenticate the consumer’s identity and securely discuss personal data. To provide the best possible experience to solve customer issues quickly and effectively, Sprint added Lithium Messaging to its social customer service platform, which allows them to safely engage customers in open dialogue on the social channel of their choice without the inconvenience of diverting to a different channel. The implementation has resulted in a 77% reduction in calls back to a customer and a significant increase in positive customer sentiment.

giffgaff Embraces the Power of Social Customers

Modern consumers want to be deeply involved in the products and companies to which they are loyal. By giving them a voice in an online community, it’s even possible to incorporate active community members into your customer service team. Communications company giffgaff developed this model successfully by rewarding active community members for running parts of the business. Community members are rewarded with virtual praise—known as kudos— and awarded 'Payback Points' for referring people to the service, answering specific questions, solving technical issues in the community, and even creating promotional material for the company. The points can be applied against their monthly mobile services, taken as a cash reward, or donated to a charitable cause.

This novel move allowed giffgaff to eliminate their other support channels. “We really have no call center,” says giffgaff’s Head of Member Experience, “and all customer service is done by the online community.”

StubHub Takes a Proactive Approach

Are your social customer care agents just standing by to react to customer inquiries? If so, you’re missing out on an opportunity to help build your audience by interacting with fans and improving their customer experience. By deploying a powerful social care tool, online ticket exchange company StubHub responds on average in less than 20 minutes to over 9,000 direct inquiries per week, giving them more time to actively seek out complaints and problems expressed on social media. By proactively solving customer problems, StubHub’s service team is surprising and delighting customers.

Good social media customer care can improve customer satisfaction rate by almost 27%.4 Learn how to exceed customer expectations by delivering better social customer service with these five tips.

1 Forbes - "The Evolution Of Customer Service"

2 Inc. - "The New Rules of Customer Engagement"

3 Harvard Business Review - "Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers"

4 Online Marketing Institute - "4 Reasons Social Media is The Future of Customer Care [Infographic]"

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