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Customer relations on social networks: from novelty to legitimate communications channel

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Social networks: made for customer service

“You should try it, it’s great, Bouygues Telecom answered my question on Twitter!”

So much enthusiasm just because a company responded through social media seems like ancient history already.

The novelty has worn off. Customers today expect customer service on social media to be at least as professional as through traditional channels.

Social networks are no longer the last resort used by disgruntled customers who are out to scare a brand. They’re now a completely distinct customer relations channel.

Today, consumers expect a genuine commitment from brands, particularly when it comes to response time. KLM understood this, and now publishes an “estimated wait time” message on Twitter (much like Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems).

 

Facebook and Twitter adapting to the trend

Two of the main social networks(1) recently published their own white papers on social media customer relations(2).

In addition, Twitter recently removed the 140-character limit for direct messages. As for Facebook, it is significantly improving its Messenger application with a view to encouraging customers and brands to use its messaging feature for private exchanges throughout the customer lifecycle.

Facebook also created a “Very responsive to messages” badge for company pages. Few have earned it, however, and it seems it would be difficult for brands with significant customer contact volume to do so. For companies to earn one of these precious badges, they must respond in less than five minutes to 90% of private messages received in a seven-day period.

The need for specialized tools

In most contact centers, conversations on social networks are currently handled directly within the various platforms themselves, or with the use of tools designed for community managers.

These methods are no longer adequate for maintaining superior service level agreements.

Social networks have become legitimate customer relations channels in their own right. They must be made an integral part of the customer experience and should contribute to the 360° customer view your representatives need for every exchange.

This means integrating social media management tools into your CRM system, or using tools designed to handle multichannel conversations.

What about KPIs?

Just because you’re using social media for customer relations doesn’t mean you can’t apply your performance indicators in the same way you do with traditional customer relations channels.

Response times, customer satisfaction or NPS, average processing time, and most of the main traditional indicators can be applied to social networks too.

All the more reason to have the right tools for measuring and managing them.

We also want social media exchanges in the context of customer service to retain their native dynamism and to continue to foster close relationships between customers and brands. It is these characteristics that differentiate these channels from the traditional channels digital natives make an effort to avoid.

(1) Facebook is the No. 1 social network in the world in terms of users, Twitter is 11th or 13th depending on the source

(2) Facebook: “The Admin’s Guide to Page Messaging” https://www.facebook.com/business/news/Page-Messaging?hc_location=ufi

Twitter: “Twitter for Customer Service Playbook” https://twitter.app.box.com/customer-service-on-twitter

Originally published Dec 14, 2015, updated Sep 24, 2021

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