Social media give companies a great opportunity to engage with their customers or prospective customers and create conversations around their products or services – They also give them the opportunity to set up great customer service.
In terms of using social media to really do that with success, this might be a hard promise to keep. Many social interactions between companies and the public simply do not live up to expectations. Sure, companies might have people’s best interests at heart, but why is it that they fail so often to deliver?
Social media is about being able to engage with your audience, and replying in real-time to your customers’ issues and complaints. Well actually, there is a lot more involved than you think. Here is a look at some of the challenges.
1. Cannot Read The Signals
It is of paramount importance to know who you are talking to – who is your customer? How do we speak to our customer? Social media is not about broadcasting messages, it is about interaction and feedback.
Companies have a lot of information about people and are not using it correctly. They might be too busy broadcasting rather than try to understand what people are saying.
2. Cannot Handle The Volume
Nobody said it would be easy, especially the part of doing it right. That’s one more reason to be prepared. Understanding the nature of social media (high volume information) will help, but very often companies are simply unable to handle customer messages or requests on social channels due simply to how many there are.
Comments, messages, and other info make a lot of noise. It takes a trained ear to figure out what needs to be addressed and what not. Wrong priorities lead to wrong decisions. Not knowing what to do with the input leads to many unanswered messages.
3. Cannot (Or Will Not) Maximise Impact
Nobody said it would be cheap. Using free tools to run social media customer service effectively for big brands isn’t the way forward. The right tools don’t have to cost an arm and a leg but should at least be what the people on the job require.
If that means asking them what are the tools that they need and buying said tools for them, so be it. The results will depend on the tools (among other things). It’s all about the tools. Invest in good ones. They will help you save money in the long run.
4. Cannot Involve Enough (Or The Right) People
Consistency is important across locations (national or international) and hiring enough of the right people to do the job, is a challenge. Can you deliver consistent messages offline and online? Are your conversations with customers on the right track? You need the right resources to get the job done properly – and I am not just talking about the tools (software etc). You also need different teams to work together – did you ever think that PR and IT would ever work together? Well, you might just have to make them.
5. Cannot Create An Online Support Center
Getting the right information to the right people in customer support is challenging. Try doing this throughout the day and night (social media never sleeps). The need for online customer service teams to be different from other customer service teams is present (different competences are needed), yet aligning your customer service teams is very important in terms of information-sharing. It is also, a huge challenge!