Digital Customer Service: Is Social Media the New Call Center?

Everything seems to be more digital nowadays. Customers aren’t as comfortable with picking up the phone as they are with sending an email. That’s a social change call centers need to be aware of. But, it’s not a change to fear. Contact centers should embrace digital customer service, and use best practices to take care of customers over the internet.

And don’t worry.

Over-the-phone customer service isn’t dead. People will always need a reassuring voice, and they’ll always feel the need to be heard. Read more to learn about how you can take your digital customer service to the next level.

What Is Digital Customer Service?

Digital customer service is online customer service. Agents help clients through text messages, online chats, email, or social media. If you need a computer and an internet connection to talk to the customer, you’re involved in digital customer service.

Of course, talking to a customer over email or Facebook is much different than talking on the phone. But, the same principles apply when it comes to customer service skills

Agents need to have a positive attitude. They need to handle cases effectively. And they need to continue the work around customer communication.

What Social Media Channels Do Customers Use?

Social media is increasingly popular. 82% of the US population has a social media account and uses it regularly.

And if a business has a social media presence, it’s only natural that customers will try to reach out on social channels about their concerns and questions.

 91% of US-based businesses have a social media presence. So, all of them should have social media customer service teams.

Here are the different types of social media platforms users may use to contact customer service and how these platforms can affect your brand reputation.

Twitter

Twitter is one of the most popular social media platforms for customer service. Users can easily make their problems about your company public by tagging you in a tweet. And you need to respond quickly. Otherwise, your company’s reputation is in trouble.

You should assign someone to watch your account activity.  Users will either tweet at you or about you. If a Twitter user has a problem with your company and uses the @ symbol to talk to you, someone needs to respond quickly. This can help put out any small fires before they become major problems. Plus, it can help you keep a pulse on your business. 

Facebook

Customers may use your business page to find your email address to contact you. But, they will probably just post on your timeline or send you something through Messenger. Keep in mind, the more upset a customer is, the more public they will make their complaint. 

They won’t complain behind the scenes. In fact, they want it to show up on your timeline so everyone else knows about their problem. 

What makes it even worse is that their comments and posts show up on their friends’ newsfeed. So, their complaints will be easy to see. Responding to them quickly is crucial. 

Users dictate the pace of digital customer service.

Instagram

Customers aren’t as likely to reach out to you over Instagram as Facebook or Twitter, but there’s always a chance. Someone needs to be watching the comments sections of your posts. 

Customers may make negative comments on your posts. Customers can also direct message (DM) your Instagram account with questions, comments, or concerns. Just like other platforms, it’s important to respond quickly. 

WeChat

China’s largest messaging app with nearly 900 million users is gaining popularity in the United States. It’s more than just a messenger app. You can use chatbots, make payments, send files, engage in group chats, and even play games. 

This program works with iOS, Android, and Windows products. If your organization is international, you should really look into using WeChat for your customers. This can help expand your reach and impact as a business into new markets.

WhatsApp

The world’s largest texting and voice platform. With more than one billion users in over 180 countries, this is definitely a channel to utilize. This program also allows free international calling and texting between devices no matter the platform. 

Unlike other social media platforms, WhatsApp messages are private. Customers can message you free of charge, but they won’t embarrass your company. Still, you should aim to respond to WhatsApp messages quickly to ensure a positive customer experience.

Digital Customer Service Best Practices

Digital customer service isn’t just about responding quickly. Of course, timeliness helps. But, how you respond matters. Make sure you follow these social media and digital customer service best practices to engage with your customers positively.

1. Balance Public Commenting vs. Private Messaging

Some customers will message you privately, others will make their complaints public. Make sure you respond to both types of customer service requests. While public posts hurt your reputation, it doesn’t mean that private messages should be avoided.

Make sure you respond to negative public posts. But, don’t solve their issues publicly. Guide the customer to message you privately or call you.

If their friends and other customers see that you handle their concerns with tact and elegance, they’ll be reassured again about your company’s professionalism.

2. Use a Service Handle

Create a username, or handle, that you use to communicate digitally with customers. Don’t respond to customer service requests with your personal account.

You want to funnel people towards messaging the service handle if there is a problem, instead of making everything public. This will allow you to really watch this specific handle andrespond quickly, even as you still listen to other channels.

Call centers need to change their strategy if they want to succeed in digital customer service.

3. Be Proactive

Don’t let negativity fester on your page. Respond to a negative post, and tag them by saying, “Hey, @SallySmith, I’m sorry to hear this. Please DM us so we handle this for you!” 

Most of the time the customer will do this because they just want to be heard. They’ve already tried multiple other avenues and not gotten the resolution they wanted. As a result, they turned to social media to vent.

4. Always Be Positive

Even if a customer berates your service, make sure you respond professionally and positively. How you message them back tells other potential customers more about you than some complaint. Remember, how you talk on the phone is how you should talk to a customer digitally.

Omnichannel Contact Centers Excel at Digital Customer Concerns

Keeping track of every aspect of digital customer service isn’t an easy task. With constantly changing digital trends, it’s even harder to keep track. And the last thing you want to do is embarrass your company publicly over social media.

As an omnichannel contact center, Expivia reps can go in and out of different channels easily. They can easily switch between traditional call center tasks and respond to Instagram DMs. From Whatsapp to Facebook, our team has your digital customer service needs covered. That’s thanks to experience and proactive engagement in all types of digital channels.

Are you looking for help managing your customer engagement? We can help you manage your digital customer service and contact center. Reach out to us to learn more about the work we do, and how we can help you today!

Want more call center operations content? Head over to our weekly call center operations podcast “Advice from a Call Center Geek!” at expiviausa.com/call-center-geek-podcast/

Advice from a Call Center Geek is a weekly podcast with a focus on all things call center and contact center. We discuss topics such as call center operations, hiring, culture, technology, and training and have fun doing it! #callcenter #contactcenter #CX #custserv #callcentergeek

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