Welcome to the future of Social Customer Care: beyond Twitter replies

Marina Hernández

13 January 2021

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Your customers await you on social media

Engaging with your social community involves more than just clicks and likes. In fact, most users expect social media to be a connection point between themselves and their favourite brand and above all, to have a human and expert component. This trend is growing every year: 54% of users prefer to make their customer service enquiries through social media, rather than via email or telephone. 

Hence in context, looking after your customer service strategy on social media has become essential, and it could revolutionise the way you interact with your customers. It’s time to leave behind the concept of the community manager we saw back in 2012, when CMs responded to complaints as if they were robots, and start paying attention to the opportunities offered by the new Social Customer Care, such as a greater capacity to identify and monitor conversations about your brand (social listening), as well as new paid media formats and synergies with your social and customer relationship (CRM) strategies. 

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Users are going through a process of unprecedented  super-digitalisation, intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, new purchasing habits are arising, marked by new expectations in the online relationship between brands and customers. Consumers are expanding their digital presence, offering new opportunities for those brands that know how to ride the wave and develop direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategies. One of the greatest advantages of this model is precisely the increased power over the relationship with our clients, which also entails new responsibilities. 

Our methodology: understanding, talking to and, above all, being there for our clients.

At Good Rebels we have a long history in Social Customer Care, which has led us to create a comprehensive methodology aimed at helping our clients build closer, trust-based relationships with their customers. 

Customers on digital channels are increasingly demanding, even more so than in physical shops. As a result, trust, both in the brand and in the purchasing process itself, becomes a key factor influencing consumer decision-making. Whether it is online or offline, customer relationships that are sustained over time are always based on the same principles: trust, level of loyalty and brand identity.  For all these reasons, it is essential to ensure all touch points between the customer and the brand meet our own models of excellence. In this way we will keep the main values of the brand intact, especially when the contact is digital.

Along these lines, during the summer of 2020, Viajes El Corte Inglés set us the challenge of working on digital consumer trust in order to increase customers’ confidence regarding COVID-19 prevention measures on board cruise ships. That is why, for the “Fantastic Cruise” campaign, we proposed a strategy based on replicating travel agents, one of the main assets in customer relations, on our social media. 

In turn, we trained our community managers to be experts in cruises and, with the support of the specialised department, they were able to answer specific questions from clients. The result? We managed to generate real sales opportunities through a service based on Social Customer Care.

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In order to empathise with the customer and get a full picture of the main touch points of their experience, it is crucial to be at the forefront of the conversations around your brand. For this purpose, social listening tools allow us to identify the sentiment and the most relevant conversations surrounding a brand, as well as to monitor their evolution. As such, we achieve a rapid and, above all, relevant response capacity. 

All these factors are particularly important in the face of reputational crises, as they allow us to prepare the subsequent analysis and report on the situation. Therefore, we will be able to achieve even greater resilience, learning how to prevent and manage crises that arise, end or take place in the social environment. 

The next step in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy

In recent years, major companies have made efforts to improve their customer management processes. The use of CRM systems has become essential to understand and respond to customer needs. The relevance of these tools in improving customer relations is not something we can take for granted.

We strongly believe that customer relationship management should not be developed in parallel to existing customer service teams, but rather that it should be integrated with them in a natural way. To this end, at Good Rebels we provide our teams with the necessary tools so that they can share knowledge and processes with the original CRM teams and even get involved in the sales process.

On the other hand, integration into the customer experience teams through social media and other channels requires more than a mere statement. It’s important to create a channel of constant communication with the team, without detriment to the autonomy of the social team, as this autonomy is precisely what allows processes to be made faster and cheaper. For example, Toyota has a knowledge hub of over 200 FAQs, which is shared with all customer care and marketing services. The use of online tools (such as Conversocial or Hootsuite) allows for tasks to be carried out simultaneously, as well as for increased efficiency. This makes the management of a case through social media 83% cheaper than it would be over the phone. 

This synergy has its culmination in CRM systems, which are essential for managing incidents and leads with our clients. Many of the incidents and questions with which our customers approach our social profiles can be easily resolved if we know the history of the relationship between a particular user and our brand. Bringing this knowledge closer to your answers guarantees success in resolving the case and, undoubtedly, customer satisfaction. 

In addition, this integration allows for a two-way knowledge flow: you receive first-hand insights on consumer interests that are easily scalable to the relevant departments thanks to the analytical capabilities of the CRM software. This traceability allows us to take better care of our users, providing personalised responses or adapting our strategy to their reality.

New formats for a 360º Social Customer Care strategy

Everything seemed to point to chatbots as the next big revolution in Social Customer Care. However, by 2016 we already knew that although they offered immense possibilities for increasing efficiency in the purchasing process, there were still social and user experience barriers to their autonomous development.  

For this reason, it is essential to contextualise artificial intelligence tools through other formats. On many occasions, the relationship between users and chatbots is not satisfactory due to their limitations in following the conversation outside their decision tree, resulting in irrelevant conversations with users.  Including this solution in your content strategy will allow for the questions that reach the chatbot to be more qualified and relevant to the needs of our brand. 

For example, by placing the access to the chatbot after the visualization of a canvas, users will focus on the doubts or actions that can be performed in the conversation, reducing the frustration that can arise when there’s not a  person on the other side. In fact, thanks to a chatbot combined with a paid media strategy we were able to demonstrate to Lexus that we could shorten users’ customer journey, accelerating the process between consideration and conversion (test drive) through an innovative experience.

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From our paper on the challenges of conversational technology, developed in collaboration with Dircom, IE Business School, Chatbot Chocolate and Planeta Chatbot.

In short,  it is crucial to understand that, nowadays, your Social Customer Care service is much more than just an activation attached to your social strategy: it is a tool in itself. Thus, we can turn the information it provides into a coherent strategy that responds to the real needs of our users. At the same time, it can also be a means to execute our activations.

For example, a recruiting company we worked with wanted to use Facebook Messenger to start native processes in order to reach out to younger profiles. Hence, we deployed a paid media campaign where the objective was to generate conversations on Facebook Messenger, to which we also added the account’s audience segmentation, thus achieving better results than a campaign with open interests.

One of the main assets of customer care in social channels is the ability to generate authentic conversations with your customers. Social Customer Care, understood as a powerful tool of the digital strategy, helps us take a step further in the relationship with our customers, showing them we are by their side.

There are many reasons why you should put the focus on social customer care: the ability to achieve insights through conversations around your brand, the possibility of adding a new direct CRM management channel and different options with which to scale up the effectiveness of your entire digital strategy. It’s time to build a Customer Care service that meets the expectations of the upcoming digital future. In Good Rebels, we can help you to build it in a relevant way.