Social media has introduced customer service to a new reality, where customers suddenly have the power to share their experience with large numbers of people. That’s forced organizations to change the way they relate to customers.
According to the Customers 2020 report “The customer of 2020 will be more informed and in charge of the experience they receive. They will expect companies to know their individual needs and personalize the experience. Immediate resolution will not be fast enough as customers will expect companies to proactively address their current and future needs.”
Has the empowerment that social channels provide given customers unreasonable service expectations? The service teams on the receiving end of a Twitter frenzy may think so, but CRM analyst Brian Vellmure believes that expectations are merely a response to technology innovations that continually set the bar higher.
“Customers aren’t spoiled brats. If we seem more demanding, it’s because our expectations are consistently being shifted by whoever’s doing the next best thing,” he says. “There’s a greater democratization of access to people, products and information, and we can get whatever we need in closer and closer to real-time.”
These expectations are shaped by standouts such as Google, which has done a remarkable job organizing global information on products, services, and community feedback and making it accessible in seconds. Says Vellmure, “This access is now the norm, and service organizations that aren’t positioned to respond to that level of expectation are getting left behind.”
In the new service paradigm, if a company promises something — that a field service technician will be dispatched at a certain time, for instance — most customers will hold them to it. And if they don’t comply, the customer is much more likely to contact a competitor on the spot because they can.
What companies are doing to meet the challenge
A sure sign that social CRM is now integrated within traditional CRM processes is reflected in the way service organizations treat social channels. When social first stepped into the service realm, some organizations offered it as a channel primarily so they could impress customers. But thanks to the experience gained and insights earned by applying analytics, they have a much better understanding of why customers use social networks, as well as mobile devices and similar game-changing tools. They’ve taken their growing knowledge and used it to develop improved, streamlined service and support.
For example, smart customer service platform providers build-in social monitoring capabilities that allow social network questions and comments to be managed and tracked just like any other channel. These platforms integrate social into the multi-channel service portfolio, and include rule-based workflows that route social feedback and questions to the best support reps based on channel specialties, technical expertise, problem types, and other criteria.
Some platforms even enable support teams to make its Facebook page, for instance, its front line of service, providing self-service knowledgebase access, easy escalation to assisted chat, and trouble-ticket creation, all integrated within the social channel’s familiar interface. Depending on the type of business, its products and services, and customer/constituent base, this can be a highly appealing service option.
According to the Social Customer Engagement Index 54.8% of companies do not have at least one social channel fully integrated into traditional customer service processes.
Are you integrating your social media into your CRM?