Good customer service on social media: Ten tips (not just) for car brands
Professional customer service on social media brings economic benefits and increased sales. This is shown by a number of studies. In 2017, however, automotive brands reduced their activities on Facebook and other sites — despite a growing online community. We suggest ten ways in which automotive brands can give their customer service a boost.
From the outset, automotive companies have made use of the new communication channels to advertise their cars. However, they have been slow to tap into the potential of social media to provide first-class customer service. This is surprising, considering that brands can significantly increase profits through upselling, cross-selling and increased customer loyalty when social media is effectively utilized. A study carried out by McKinsey & Company indicates that revenues can be increased by 6.7% per contact when brands provide an appropriate level of customer service.
Customers are increasingly reaching out to brands via social media. According to some studies, the global Facebook community for car companies grew by 20% in 2017, and the number of questions publicly directed at them on Twitter reached 560,000. Despite this, many car companies seem to be putting the brakes on their social media presence — overall activity on Facebook has fallen by 5.2%, and on Twitter by almost 20%.
At the same time, many of these companies’ customers are finding themselves at an impasse when they want to contact customer service over social media. As it happens, only 30% of these brands actually have a dedicated social media account for customer service. Consequently, customers are typically left with vague responses, which often require a great deal of waiting first. For example, only 12% of Twitter posts directed at car companies get a response, and that’s after an average wait of more than twelve hours, according to Socialbakers’ latest social benchmarking reports.
On the other hand, a closer look reveals that some brands are well ahead of the competition. For example, a leading French multinational car manufacturer recognized the need to offer its customers in Great Britain and Ireland customer service on social media due to the growing popularity of this platform as a means of interacting with companies.
This company received a large number of posts, with 5,000 customer contacts and roughly 500 customer complaints per month. They understood that unless they provided professional customer service via social media, they ran the risk of endangering profits and harming the brand.
Working together with Majorel (former: Arvato CRM Solutions), they put together a team specifically for looking after customers on social media. This team was provided with a special training program for its members as well as a tailored quality model for the purpose of monitoring the social media performance of the brand.
Furthermore, a tool was developed to pool together all of the brand’s social media feeds. This allows the team to employ a proper omnichannel strategy, enabling the requisite monitoring of customer contacts as well as appropriate responses. That makes it possible for every user to have a positive experience of the brand.
In the first ten months, Majorel’s team handled more than 40,000 posts on social media and was able to reduce the average response time to only 17 minutes.
Due to, among other things, its responsiveness on social media, the British organization is now recognized within the international corporate community as “Best in Class” for its customer service, and has been a finalist in a number of British customer service awards.
Here are our top tips for effectively utilizing social media and providing customers with a positive experience:
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Ten tips for better customer service on social media
Consider your goals: Make clear precisely what you hope to achieve with social media, in relation to both brand awareness and customer service.
Centralize your procedures: By standardizing the platform you use for maintaining all of your accounts, you can pursue inquiries and provide answers consistently across all points of contact.
Delineate responsibility: Confusion as to who should respond to a query always causes delays. You need to make clear which team is responsible — marketing & P.R. or customer service. Always ensure that the team has access to the necessary resources.
Make sure to tell people that you’re “open for business”: Let your customers know that your customer service team can be reached on social media as soon as everything’s up and running.
Respond quickly: Immediate answers are crucial for effective customer service. This means minutes, not days.
Manage expectations: Always make it known when your team is available and how soon it can respond.
Let your employees shine: On social media it all comes down to human interaction. This means that it’s important for your employees to be allowed to use a relaxed tone and style which is simultaneously suited for your channel and appropriate for your brand.
View every interaction as an opportunity: Always look out for opportunities to impress customers with extra information and support, to sell new products or services to interested customers, or to gather feedback which can be used to improve your products or services.
Test, measure, improve: Only once you’re set on pursuing the most important areas of customer service — reaction time, resolution time, customer satisfaction, and atmosphere — can you be sure that you’re achieving the desired impact and constantly building on it.