by Vit Horky It's common for blogs related to customer service and customer experience to talk about how the increasing ubiquity of social media requires fundamental changes in the way that brands should conceive of customer service. That’s a good thing.
Social media is a relatively new medium of communication, and brands certainly must tailor their tone of voice and style of interaction to social channels. But sometimes the customer gets lost in all the talk about what brands should do to keep up with the increased speed of today’s interactions.
Brands have to remember that social media is a social space that’s inherently customer-centric. Furthermore, digital communication technologies drastically have influenced customer expectations, and this is the core reason why a shift in brand behavior is warranted.
Let’s take a closer look at the expectations of today’s digital customers and how brands can best respond.
1) Speed is everything
Now more than ever, customer expect a fast response to social media queries, even when they’re just saying “hi.”
32% of customers expect a response within 30 minutes
42% expect a response within 60 minutes
The increasing impatience of digital customers means brands must work a lot harder to respond to customers quickly. But the good news is that brands have more powerful tools than ever before. Digital customer service software, especially chatbots, allows brands to be there for customers at all times.
How to make it happen: Use the right digital customer service technology to allow agents to work more efficiently, so customers get responses sooner.
2) Accessibility is a necessity
Along with the increased necessity of a fast response comes an increased need for accessibility. Gone are the days when customers were willing to wait on hold for a response. Customers these days want instant access to brands, and they want it 24 hours per day.
This may not be as significant a shift as some brands think. Maintaining an active presence on social media means that your brand will naturally be accessible.
Remember what Facebook has done with their responsiveness badges, essentially awarding brands that respond quickly. It’s key for brands to let customers know how long they can expect to wait for a response. Be transparent when you’re not available, don’t try to hide it. This establishes trust.
How to make it happen: Make sure customer service agents are using the right technology and be transparent about exactly how long customers should expect to wait for a response.
3) Personalization is prescribed
Fast, accessible service isn’t all there is to delivering great customer service. These days, and especially with younger customers and millennials, service that’s warm, intelligent, and empathetic is a necessity.
We can’t say it enough: Customer service needs to be personalized. Today’s customers demand ever-more personalized service. This comes down to software and soft skills. Agents need to be encouraged to take a personalized tone with customers and not use cookie-cutter language. At the same time, it’s necessary for agents to have the right tools. CRM gives agents more information about each customer, which allows these moments of true personalization to take place.
How to make it happen: Leverage CRM data to give agents more information about each customer, then encourage them to use this data to make personal connections with more humanized service.
4) Consistency is key
Another important aspect of customer service on social media is that it has to be consistent. This builds trust — important for online customers because they don’t have the assurance of face-to-face interactions in a brick-and-mortar shop.
Over time, customers create associations with brands, and this is a key to customer experience. The more a brand can inspire positive emotions, the more loyal its customers will be, and the more willing they will be to spend more. This sense of consistency comes from the brand’s voice and what kind of responses customers can expect.
Surprise can be great in digital customer service, but in this regard, it’s vital for brands to develop consistency in the way they talk to customers. Remember though that a consistent tone of voice isn’t the same as cookie-cutter language!
How to make it happen: While encouraging agents to be personalized, be sure to set some guidelines (not strictures) for brand voice. Ensure that the brand voice is a reality for every customer service agent.
5) Predictive service is preferred
We’re in an era where passive service is no longer enough. Instead of simply waiting for customers to contact the brand, it’s important that companies now use listening technology to keep tabs on the online conversation and the evolution of sentiment.
Brands that listen proactively are better positioned to convert potential customers by going out of their way to catch them at key moments when they’re deciding where to spend their money.
How to make it happen: Use listening technology to monitor keywords so it’s possible to convert prospective customers who may be looking for your product or service.
At NICE, we recognize the way digital customer service has influenced customer expectations. Brands that want to stay relevant need to adapt to the times — and they need the right contact center software to make this happen.
We’d love to show you what our powerful digital customer service software can do for you. It will tell you more about each customer and streamline the customer service process so your agents can be more responsive and efficient while offering more human-centric service. Do you speak digital?