The influence of social media needs no introduction. Consumers now demand that their complaints be acknowledged and resolved quickly. In fact, most consumers would rather solve an issue online than through traditional methods. The shift to social media for these practices is the basis of social customer relationship management.
Businesses are turning to social media as the go-to medium for building relationships with their customers. Despite the acceptance of social media as a viable business channel, and the rising need for social customer care, the following statistics cited in the 2012 Customer Experience Benchmarking Study are alarming:
- 70 percent of companies have an active social media program, but only half proactively listen and respond to brand conversations
- One in four companies is still determining its approach toward social media
- 53 percent of companies with social media teams have not developed social media training
- Only 37 percent of companies are using daily monitoring programs to see what their customers are saying
- 43 percent of executives feel as if they don’t have the proper resources to tackle social media
It’s clear that companies have a ways to go in developing a social media presence that will support them in developing a customer-centric brand. Five ways that brands can start delivering a positive customer through social include:
- Start monitoring the online conversation: By listening to what your customers are saying online, you’ll be able to join the conversation and help move it forward. Start monitoring social networking sites as well as blogs and forums. Find out where your customers are sounding off online.
- Evaluate the discussion: Beyond focusing on brand mentions, start pinpointing engagement opportunities that include complaints, compliments, sales inquiries and questions.
- Participate in the conversation: Don’t just watch the conversation unfold from the sidelines. Start engaging with your customers and prospects. Let them know you’re listening to their feedback and are there to help.
- Be proactive and timely: Social media happens in a flurry. Feeds, status updates and comments are continuous. Things move fast on the Internet. Timeliness is essential in being proactive, helpful, effective and relevant. Make sure to seize the moment as it comes.
- Track your success: Keep a record of your engagements and how they were received. You’ll be able to optimize your response methods and even create a case for why social media and social customer care bring value to your business.
Jason Wolcott is the Founder and CEO of Digital Roots, a social CRM vendor. If you’re interested in learning more about social media in the contact center, or how a social customer care program can positively impact your company’s bottom line and reputation, contact Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JayWolcott.