Ty Scheiner

Social media is becoming increasingly important for businesses not only as a new source of revenue, but as a customer care outlet. A marketer is always trying to show the ROI of a social media strategy and the dollar value of having a social presence, but reporting on these numbers may not be as important as a strong social care plan. Social customer service helps establish loyalty between a brand and its customers while allowing each fan or follower to have his or her own voice and providing a direct line of communication for the consumer and the company.

Customers are a business’ number one asset and therefore it is important to keep them happy and loyal so they keep coming back. This task can be difficult, as offering top-notch social care requires attention to detail across multiple channels. Sustaining a solid social customer care plan is vital because upsetting one customer can have a snowball effect, especially in today’s digital age where word-of-mouth insight travels within seconds. When a brand loses one customer, and that consumer voices his or her disappointment with the company online, the business may see a spike in loyalty.

When you think of customer service, you think of crisis management and how to turn a negative issue into a positive to retain your customers. In the new age of digital media, retention is not the only kind of customer service you should be focused on. Whether you are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media network, it is important to keep the communication between your brand and customers a two-way street.

Customers don’t just take to social media to voice their problems, but many people communicate with brands via these channels to share good experiences with a brand, thanking a company for exceptional service or just pointing out that they are fans of the organization. For example, Brafton helps clients manage their social media networks and part of that service is monitoring client pages to ensure quality social care. Below is an example of a customer showing gratitude for the brand.This kind of positive comment is beneficial because it illustrates to other followers that this brand offers extraordinary service and people are going out of their way to recognize the brand. Now this client could have just left the comment be since it wasn’t a negative response or a question that required a response, but by adding a response the company is active on its social pages and keeps that two-way communication open. Not only can exceptional online service bring customer loyalty, but it can also lead to an increase in conversions.

Not only can exceptional online service bring customer loyalty, but it can also lead to an increase in conversions.

Similar to how important it is to have fantastic in-person customer service, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to start putting resources, training and a strategy incorporated into their online marketing strategy. According to new research from  Socialbakers, brands are answering more questions on Facebook than ever before. Brafton works with its clients to create a system where the appropriate customer representatives are notified each time a comment, response or question is posted on a brand’s social network.

We realize it is tough for some companies to constantly monitor their social accounts for customer activity. This is why it’s essential for businesses to work with third-party agencies that can aid in monitoring social Pages for daily action from fans and followers. Brafton works with numerous clients that were previously unable to manage the sheer volume of social chatter taking place on their Pages day-in and day-out, and we helped them gain a hold on their online presences. Below is an example of a question posed to a Facebook Page, and with the help of Brafton’s social media team, the brand resolved the problem in fewer than 24 hours.

Hopefully this goes without saying, but timely responses are vital to a successful online customer care strategy. It is unrealistic to expect an answer within seconds of posting a comment or question, but it is reasonable to answer every question or comment within 24 hours. At the very least this means you will be checking your social networks on a daily basis which should allow for plenty of time for an opportune response.

If your company wants to continue to grow, boost sales, acquire and retain customers, it must develop a solid social customer care plan. Whether you are organizing an internal team or looking to a third party for assistance, having a social presence is important and utilizing your networks to engage your customers will only benefit your brand.