Like it or not, social media has become a backbone of communication today. The channel has been embraced by nearly all age groups, but particularly by young people of the Millennial generation. Not only is it a popular choice for communication, but it’s also a news aggregator, a dating tool, a shopping channel and even a way to engage in customer support. If you’re not providing customers with support by social media, they are noticing.
But providing customer engagement and support via social media means that businesses should be monitoring and improving their social presence like they do any other service channel if they want to boost customer engagement, according to a recent article by Jana Barrett writing for Business2Community. They also need to be fast about it, since that’s what customers have come to expect of social channels.
“Social is instant, interconnected, cross-channel, 24/7,” wrote Barrett. “Average people can access limitless information from limitless sources. When companies enter the arena, they’re contextually held to the same standards. On Facebook (News - Alert) or Twitter, I want near-instant responses, and I want them to feel like a conversation—not a PR statement.”
The danger is that if you don’t discuss your brand on social media and try to steer the conversations in a positive direction, your customers will discuss you there among themselves, and the exchanges are less likely to be positive. Social media is one of the first places younger consumers turn when they are researching a brand, so what some customers post, others will see.
“Customers are also empowered to punish or praise a brand in online reviews, public posts, and forums,” wrote Barrett. “This visibility makes companies highly accountable to not just their customers, but anyone they talk to over social media and elsewhere. One negative story has legs. It can sour prospects and make existing customers distrustful, leading to lost business.”
So do you know what your customers are saying about you on social media? Do you know how well your employees are servicing customers via this channel? Social channels should be monitored as carefully as telephone channels to ensure that the customer experience standards are kept high.
Companies can employ workers internally to monitor social conversations, or they can include social media as part of a third-party remote call monitoring program. Companies such as BPA Quality can capture feedback from a full range of social media sites and turn it into objective and quantifiable data. The information can be used as actionable intelligence to improve social media presence or response, or gather information about new products or services, for example, or how well a marketing campaign is working.
The best way to control the information on social media is to capture it, learn from it and improve interactions for customers. This way, companies can maximize the social media platform, both for their customers and for their own benefit.