The most important social media trends for customer service in 2019
Things never stand still in the world of social media, but recent months have brought especially far-reaching changes, in part because of an increasing awareness of the dangers of fake news. Consumers are growing more selective in their use of social media platforms, and they are becoming more mindful of their data. What do companies have to do to maintain outstanding customer service via digital channels?
Last year, almost one out of every three users in the United States and Great Britain closed a social media account, according to technology company GlobalWebIndex. The main reasons were lack of interest in the content, and the amount of time spent on the platforms. Today’s consumers simply have higher expectations of social media and the content offered there. This poses a real challenge for companies. To appeal to their target audiences, they have to offer more efficient service in social media and produce even more attractive and creative content. To successfully interact with their customers through social media, companies should be more mindful in the coming months of the three tactics described below.
1. Create trust
In its annual Trust Barometer, the communications marketing firm Edelman designated 2018 as the year when consumers took up the “battle for the truth.” People today are aware that misinformation is being spread through social media and are therefore increasingly cautious about accepting what they read.
That means, on one hand, that the information that brands share must be flawless and altogether correct. And, on the other hand, it offers a great opportunity: Consumers are looking for qualified experts to provide them with trustworthy information – and brands are well-situated to give them just that. What should they do? Because consumers are more likely to engage with content that comes from a person rather than a company, businesses should enable their employees to act as ambassadors for their brand.
Social media listening tools are useful for building a relationship with customers and making sure they receive the information they need. They make it possible to actively monitor and record discussions. Companies can use the resulting insights proactively to reach out to their own followers or create content tailored precisely to their needs.
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2. Customer support through messaging apps
Studies show that people are now more likely to interact through platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger than to speak with one another directly. With their ease of use and informal tone, these platforms are also an important way to establish contact with brands. A study by Facebook and Nielsen found that messaging apps are now the preferred way to buy products, request support or simply give feedback.
Companies should make a priority of improving their ability to provide customer service through messaging apps. There are at least two reasons for this: for one, it is clear that the relevance of messaging apps will continue to grow this year. And for another, consumers are also becoming more demanding: 81 percent of those surveyed in the framework of the representative study “State of Digital Care in 2018” conducted by the firm Conversocial stated that their expectations of digital customer service had grown over the past twelve months.
Brands have to adapt their tactics to social media and use tools that allow them to provide consumers with top-notch support and service. If they fail to do this, they will lose customers.
3. Personalize customer service via social media
Another finding of the Conversocial study was that although consumers recognize the benefits of the new technologies, they don’t want to see human support specialists replaced entirely by bots. For 59 percent of those surveyed, it is “very important” to speak with an actual person when they contact customer service with a problem.
It would be wrong, however, to therefore rely exclusively on traditional service channels, since technologies like artificial intelligence and robotic process automation can in many cases actually improve personal interaction between people and brands: Robots are brilliant at drowning out the noise in social media. They process simple requests automatically and free up customer support specialists to concentrate on the complex issues.