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With as many as 34% of customers turning to social media to resolve their customer service issues (a figure that is much higher amongst millennials), brands are still failing to meet the expectations of their customers when it comes to responding quickly on social.

Fast responses key to social media customer serviceIn fact, a study by NICE inContact revealed that consumers rate customer service 17% lower than organisations typically rate themselves in meeting customers’ needs. The important point to remember is that we cannot judge our own customer service performance, only our customers can. Social media has provided a unique opportunity for customers to directly (and publicly) share their views, frustrations and on the more positive side, recommendations.

Yet many brands are investing significant sums in developing customer experience programmes, which can delight and exceed customer expectations, despite failing to deliver on the basic principles of good customer service. A study by the Customer Contact Council revealed that reducing customer effort is the single most important factor in building customer loyalty. Customer perceptions are critical in a channel like social media, with 62% of consumers agreeing that reading negative comments about a company on social media puts them off using them, alternatively 75% of consumers agreed that they are more likely to use a company if the read positive comments about them on social media. Decreasing the effort/time it takes for the customer to get the problem solved is not a new concept, after all the very definition of marketing is all about problem solving:

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying the customer’s requirements profitably.” Chartered Institute of Marketing

So why are so many organisations coming undone when it comes to managing customer service on social media?


According to Forrester, 82% of consumers say that great customer service is reliant on the ability to resolve issues quickly. With 53% of customers expecting a response within an hour on social media, and 23% within 30 minutes, and an average response time of 4 hours by organisations, it’s clear to see where there is a mismatch in perceived expectation and reality.

But what can organisations do to reduce customer effort and deliver on the fundamentals of social customer service?

Put a social media management platform in place – Monitor customer conversations across a multitude of accounts and networks, ensuring that your customers aren’t left in the dark.

Resource effectively – Track the volume, content and sentiment of your customer service enquiries to determine the resource needed. Traditionally social media has sat within the marketing team with enquiries collated and emailed to the customer services team or other relevant departments, all adding to the time taken to respond to the customer (and adding to their frustration levels). Why not give the customer service team access to social media under the watchful eye of the marketing team? Validation controls can enable employees across your organisation to deliver social media but in a safe and a controlled environment, helping to protect your brand’s reputation.

Train your team – Equip customer service teams with the tools and confidence they need to deliver effective customer service. Ensure they are aware of the correct tone of voice to respond to customers and have on hand the key information to solve your customer’s problems. Use real life examples from your organisation of customer service scenarios to help share best practice and key learnings.

Automate where possible – Make life simple! Set up workflows, which will automatically forward the relevant customer enquiry to the right customer service respondent. For example, identify key words and phrases such as ‘tap broken’ to be forwarded to the customer service team who deals with maintenance issues.

Set KPIs – Using a social media management platform with enhanced customer service features, you will be able to monitor key metrics such as first time to response and average resolution time. Use these to set targets for your teams responding on social media. When creating KPI’s, take into consideration industry averages but more importantly assess current response times to work out a realistic target to aim for.

Anticipate their pain points and respond accordingly – By developing a full understanding of your customers needs you will be able to anticipate their pain points and create shortcuts to prevent them from having to seek further support in the first place. Review the top customer complaints then produce and promote content that solves these problems. This not only reduces customer effort but also provides your customer service team with the tools they need to quickly resolve customer issues.

To find out more about how to meet your customers expectations take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Customer Service in 2019

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The Ultimate guide to exceptional social media customer service in 2019

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