What’s the role of social media in today’s customer service scene? Can it really drive revenue and value to a business or is it all just hype? Many of our customers are asking us this question. With NewVoiceMedia CloudFest London taking place this afternoon, we think the answer is more important than ever. Read on to learn more about the role of social media in the contact centre.
We all know that the digital age has handed the reins of power to the customer. Consumers are in charge now: they can do research on products by themselves, share their thoughts on products and even personalise their own products. We’ve come full circle from traditional business models where our salespeople were the gatekeepers of information, with the ability to influence customers heavily in pursuit of sales. The same is true of service: if there was a problem with the product they would go straight to you for help and information.
The shift we have seen in recent years has forced businesses to change their approach, to get creative with their products and focus on delivering an entire ‘experience’ rather than just a product. We’re in the ‘experience economy’ now.
What’s the experience economy and why do we care?
Now what does the ‘experience economy’ really mean? The basic idea is about turning mass production goods into to something extraordinary by engaging the customer and differentiating oneself from competition. By adding uniqueness to a product, demand rises, but so does value in the eyes of the customer, which allows the company to raise prices. The bottom line is that a company can sell more at a better price by understanding the experience economy and using it to the best advantage.
One great example of the value of the experience economy is the way that it can arouse memories and feelings within the customer. Consider buying a new iPhone: you could argue that it’s really only for communicating with your family and friends, just like any other mobile phone. Yet many consumers are willing to pay hundreds of pounds for it, at a higher price point than many other good phones. Apple delivers a nicely designed phone, in a nicely designed packaging and a group of followers that will recommend the product to others in a heartbeat. In addition, when their phone needs replacement, they’re likely to go back to Apple!
This tells us three things that remain true for any company’s customers:
- Customers don’t want brown box products. They want an experience that makes them feel good.
- Customers will listen to trusted advisors. They will give and ask for advice from friends, family and their general network, and they will involve these advisors in their purchasing decisions.
- Repeat business is easier than new business. A sale to repeat customers takes less effort to develop than a sales from a new lead.
So what’s in a tweet?
So now your customers don’t need you: they have new tools at their disposal to research what they want by themselves and get honest answers from trusted sources. You need a new way to engage with your customers – and this is why we’ve seen the evolution of marketing automation tools to help businesses keep up. (Check out our recent blog on Marketing automation for a nice summary of the kind of tools available.)
But it’s not just about keeping up – you need to get ahead. You may have heard the expression, “You spend 5 years working on your brand and reputation, but you can lose it all in 5 minutes.” It’s true! Customers have infinite channels now for discussing their dislike of your product and seeking others’ advice over yours. A tweet is all it takes for the world to know that you have unsatisfied customers.
How can you work with this new breed of customer? You might say, “Well, we have a great contact centre – customers call or email in and we get back to them!” And yes, these valuable channels for customers that want to seek you out directly…
…But what about those that don’t want to go to all that effort? What about your Tweeters, your Facebookers, your Instagrammers? Once these comments appear, there’s no way to make them go away. Those little social denigrations can snowball into a powerful negative force, encouraging more and more customers and potential customers to go to competitors instead.
What can you do to seek out those bad reviews, analyse them and take action? How can you take the opportunity to turn bad feedback into a great customer service experience, encouraging customers to stay with you instead of fleeing to your competitors?
Bringing social to your customer service
Your contact centre is a powerful player. Using modern tools, you can give your customers an exceptional, frictionless experience by giving your agents a good 360 view of your customers: their products, their previous cases, their previous feedback. You can start to gather powerful information to serve your customers regardless of the channel they contact you on.
But your contact centre can become social as well: with a social media control centre you have opportunities to capture good and bad feedback from your customers proactively, without having to wait for them to come to you. With Salesforce’s Social Studio you can not only monitor how people are perceiving your brand, but also engage with your customer base across several different channels. This can support your agents in reacting to any kind of feedback, even creating support cases directly in Salesforce to escalate issues that need follow up.
By meeting customers ‘where’ they are, knowing ‘who’ they are and giving them the help they need, you can increase your customer satisfaction scores, increase customer retention and ultimately attract more customers who are drawn to the positive feedback of your existing customer base.
You’ve convinced me! How do I get there?
Salesforce is a powerful platform that offers many different ways to enhance your customers’ experience and improve your brand perception. The best way to get started is to speak to one of our consultants about where you are as a business, your strategic goals and what you want to achieve with social. But without knowing more about your business, let’s start with a few good principles:
- Work towards getting one single, holistic view of your customers
- React according to their behaviour
- Provide personalised content to your customers on their preferred channel
- Automate tailored real-time customer journeys
- Get social! Dive into social listening to understand the truth of what your customers are thinking and saying about your brand
And in terms of how to get there – here are some suggestions for where your business should look to invest in. Which are relevant to your business?
- Create communities that can be used for customer service, loyalty programs and more.
- Listen and engage with your customers on social platforms
- Understand what is being said about your brand and analyse the data
- Publish highly targeted content to different platforms and measure how it is being perceived
- Build, run and optimise ads on Facebook and Twitter
- Add the power of video to your call centre
- Use trigger based journeys based on your customer data and their behaviour
Remember this: it takes a long time to build up a good experience, and you expect to achieve it overnight. Since every business and product is different, there’s also no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to strategies and solutions.
This is why we recommend talking to us directly – so that you can explain where your business is and what you want to achieve. If you know that, we can help you get there.So what did you think of our answer? If you agree or disagree, there’s still a conversation to be had. To keep the conversation going, why not come and visit us at NewVoiceMedia CloudFest London? We’d love to see you there. Or make it social: get in touch with us via Twitter at @makepositive and let us know what you think of this article. We’d love to hear from you.