According to Harvard Business Review, there was a 2.5x increase in the volume of tweets directed at brands in the past two years. With increasing volume and velocity of customer enquiries on social media, its essential you understand how to effectively listen to all of the activity, before engaging or responding.
There are several a number of factors to consider in shaping your customer service listening, such as how much ‘pain’ your customers are in, and the level or type of response they require.
You can also check out our recent post 5 Steps to Social Customer Care Success to read more about social media and customer care. Alternatively, download a free copy of our Ultimate Guide to Managing Social Customer Care to learn more.
Listening to customers on social media
Consider these key points when defining how you will use social media listening to support better customer care:
The ‘Pain’ Factor
What % of your customers are using social media as a channel for complaints? Resolution of complaints is a key driver of overall customer satisfaction and they must be treated very differently to general enquiries such as how to use your product. Assessing how ‘in pain’ or ‘frustrated’ your customers are, will determine the type of listening you need to have in place in the future, the key ‘buzz’ terms needing attention and types of narrative conducted through your channels.
The ‘Sentiment’ Factor
It’s not all about complaints. O2 were hit with 25,000 tweets that were marked as angry or sad when they left their customers without phone reception. However, their crisis PR strategy paid off – adopting an approach of answering every single complaint no matter how aggressive, with a light and humorous tone, which meant that they soon turned their sentiment to love and gained 13.5k new followers! So take a look at your current channels to determine the current level of sentiment across your customer groups.
The ‘You’ve already got it covered’ Factor
Some customer service channels are flooded with questions that have already been answered somewhere else online. This can be frustrating for an organisation but also indicates the ‘fast fact’ demands of customers today. Many websites are far from perfect in navigating customers to the information they require and they turn to social media for a quick signpost to what they need. Having the information at their fingertips is a big help to the customer service response teams who can concentrate on signposting rather than seeking an appropriate engagement approach.
The ‘No response needed’ Factor
This is particularly relevant for organisations who are enjoying the glow of engaged peer-to-peer customer service engagement. Some enterprises have mastered this approach, benefiting from an army of loyal ‘helpers’ who support each other in using the product / service, and providing a more credible response to the ‘official’ response – a win-win for any enterprise when it is all going well. The reality is that an organisation getting involved in each and every peer-to-peer conversation could be interpreted as interference, which is why it is best to listen from the sidelines and only step in when absolutely necessary. Therefore, your audit should identify the % of traffic that doesn’t need any response, in order to gauge the overall demand for responder resource.
The Time of Day Factor
Perhaps an obvious one for all customer service teams, but a factor that has evolved considerably over the past two years and is often hard to anticipate. It is important to establish the time of day your customers are likely to engage with you. There has been a considerable transition from ‘office only hours’ customer service to 'around the clock’ response. This is particularly evident in high footfall public environments – train, planes and entertainment hubs. Failing to listen at a critical time, like at a live event where there is a heavy demand for information, can lead to a nasty surprise for an organisation with the public converging to complain en-mass about the brand's unsatisfactory response.
The Technical Operational Factor
Finally it is important to define the technology and operational process that the customer service teams are using to listen in and respond on social media. The days of manually logging in to social media accounts has long gone (thankfully) and social media management software platforms like CrowdControlHQ provide an array of listening options. However, a health warning – these software platforms can’t define your strategy for you! To extract the maximum benefit, you need to define exactly what kind of listening is needed, where to listen and define who has the responsibility for responding!