You already know that social media is a fantastic marketing tool for your small business. However, social media also has another important application that more and more companies are beginning to use, and that’s utilizing social media for customer support. I think social media is a great tool for customer service, and was happy to see the recent report from Software Advice, the online reviews and comparisons hub for CRM buyers, that stated the number software vendors offering social media tools for customer support has increased by 150% since 2010. To learn more about why more companies are demanding automated tool for customer service, we asked Craig Borowski, the researcher and author of this report, a few questions.
Your recent report shows an uptick in brands using social media for customer support. Why do you think there’s been such an increase?
Great question! The short reason for why brands are increasingly using social media for customer support is because that’s where many of their customers are. Now, a half-glass empty narrative you often hear is that companies only turn to social media customer service after they discover that customers are using it as a platform to publicly complain about a poor experience with a company. In this context, companies are turning to social mainly for “damage control,” to protect brand reputation. While this is still somewhat accurate, for some companies, it’s really only a small part of the picture. The best companies, those finding the most value in social media, are those that use it to open new dialogues with their customers.
How are customers demanding more advanced social customer service tools?
Customer demand for specific customer service channels can be tricky to gauge. Most often, their demand is only made clear by looking at which companies they spend their money with, and then connecting the dots back to what drives those purchase decisions. When connecting those dots, it’s important to remember that the less effort customers need to expend to complete their customer service issue, the more likely they are to consider the service good. Every small hoop they’re made to jump through — for example, being asked to repeat details, to call instead of email, or to email first then call — increases the effort, measurably degrades their overall satisfaction and raises the chances they’ll shop elsewhere in the future. Unfortunately, few companies track their customers experiences closely enough to accurately pinpoint each and every hoop.