When a company’s brand is praised on social media, it can be like a dream come true. But when it goes bad, it can go really bad. Who can forget last year’s social media failures of companies like Applebee’s and Pace salsa?
Customers are online more than ever before. In fact, the number of global internet users has grown to 2.92 billion, up over 200 million users since 2013. Customers are also increasingly using social media sites—primarily on their mobile devices. That means companies need to meet their audience where they already are, rather than forcing them to seek support over an “officially supported” channel. After all, you can’t stop someone from mentioning your brand on social media. All you can do is hope to know about it and influence the conversation in a positive way, and that’s why you need social media support.
Why Customers Use Social Media
They want to vent
Sometimes customers have had a bad experience and want to “punish” the offending company with bad publicity. To prevent a revolt of Comcast proportions, one solution is to rescue customers by offering to move the conversation to a more intimate venue, like SMS text. But don’t force it–customers are sensitive to being hushed. In the meantime, make sure that all responses are contrite, respectful, and aimed at solving the problem.
They want to be heard
Social media is a distribution platform. People want to use it as a soapbox. Acknowledge that you’ve heard them and give them the option to communicate over a more private channel like email or SMS text.
They want to engage
They want real support…not just a form response from a marketing department. Use SMS to prove that you are willing to engage with them and solve their problem.
Who Owns Social Media?
The marketing department typically handles social media for the business, while customer support owns other channels. SMS text can act as a great bridge between the two departments. The customer will like that because they are both thumb-based and mobile. A perfect example of this is the ability to text an airline: “My flight has been cancelled. How do I get on the next flight?” The customer appreciates the immediacy of texting during a time-sensitive interval, and the company appreciates the customer’s willingness to engage with them.
As stated in a recent Gartner report, “By 2015, at least 60% of Internet users will opt for mobile customer service applications as their first option.” With the year drawing a close, it begs the question: is your business ready to engage customers on mobile?
To learn more about mobile customer service, professionally designed or do-it-yourself, visit onereach.com.
Photo by Flickr user Sean MacEntee.