Why social media tools might not be for you

social media tools

Given the surge towards using social media as a customer service tool, companies are looking to streamline their social operations. Many are turning to all-in-one tools, but is this really the right choice? Read on to decide for yourself.

The rise in popularity of social media as a customer service forum has been welcomed by customers and businesses alike, but due to the high volume of inquiries, comments and complaints received through these channels, companies have begun to look for ways to simplify the process for their staff.

All-in-one tools have been the solutions to turn to, but they aren’t always the best decision for your business. Most companies will see it as a way of making things easy, but easy is not necessarily a good thing if your content and reputation is compromised as a result. People welcome the ease-of-use and the ability to work across channels from a single platform. Plus, most of these systems include scheduling options to make things easier if staff are on holiday, and pre-written messages and tweets to be sent out if certain actions are completed, such as a new follower. 

However, while this may be easier for the staff members, it can be frustrating for the customer.

The statistics

social tools statistics

Forrester Consulting recently conducted a study on market credibility when it comes to social customer service, surveying over 150 senior contact centre executives on their social practice in this area. You can read their full report right here , but we’ve summarised a few of the key facts for you to bear in mind:  

• Figures show that people are increasingly using Twitter for customer service: 11% = 2009, 22% = 2012, 44% is forecast for 2015
• Customer service satisfaction is almost as high as email: 60% email and 56% twitter
• Improving social customer service has been labelled as the most pressing short-term priority for 67% of companies
• 35% of social customer service agents have to re-start conversations with every interaction
• 38% of companies are ineffective at providing a consistent cross-channel experience 

The study also indicated that most companies are trying to conduct social customer service with an all-in-one solution bought by marketing, and are failing to deliver. Given the huge number of programmes out there devoted to providing this streamlined, cross-channel experience across social, why is the percentage for ineffective experience so high? And why are agents having to re-start so many conversations? The answer lies in the flaws of these all-in-one-systems, and the truth is, you cannot cross channels with the effortlessness of an omni-channel experience within eCommerce. Social media simply doesn’t work in the same way. 

The benefits of dedicated team approach

There is a danger with the employ of all-in-one systems that staff members can become complacent over their engagement with these networks. The fact that everything is made so much easier can have a huge effect on the quality of the content being sent out, as well as the perception of the company creating it. The fact that all channels are available to pre-schedule content at the same time can lead to a cut-and-paste mentality, so there is no diversity of content, and no adhering to the strategy for that specific channel. Conversocial  found that 88% of consumers are less likely to purchase from a company that leaves questions on social media unanswered, so it is clear that, if consumers see this, they are more likely to assume that this lazy attitude must transcend into your customer service, even though this is not the case. It is all about customer perception, and if used in the wrong way or by a business that wouldn’t benefit from this, it can do more harm than good. 

The benefits of using a singular approach, where you access each platform separately, is that you have that channel-appropriate strategy engrained into your staff. There is less of a tendency to apply the same method to each channel, because it is a separate action to send out a message. Another angle to this is that most businesses rarely find that ALL channels work for them, and they tend to focus on one or two channels where their target market like to interact. With this in mind, a direct approach is often far easier to maintain and understand.

Summary

The reality is that customer service expectations are rising year on year and consumers are looking to brands to create a seamless experience that spans the showroom floor to the Facebook timeline – simply having a presence is no longer enough. You need to look for ways to include yourself in conversations within your industry by adding value, and if the posts and messages you are sending out are generic, they will ultimately be ignored.

You need to make sure that the team of staff you have working on your social media channels and customer service departments are completely intertwined, but also that you are using the right method in order to answer queries quickly and efficiently, while ensuring that those posts are representative of that channel. Many businesses are finding this difficult with the employ of all-in-one tools, so perhaps this is an area you need to address too.


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