5 Common Misunderstandings About Social Customer Service

By: Sofie De Beule

February 21, 2014

customer relationship
customer sentiment
social customer service
social team
support team

Social customer service may not be at the top of the priority list for your business. But, can even the smallest companies really risk ignoring their customers? Most definitely not! Frustrated customers want their voice to be heard and feel empowered to make customer service more personal and transparent. So, take responsibility and shape the future of your reputation!

A large number of businesses hedge their bets on providing better customer service than their competitors, and social media helps them to deliver on that promise. However, for some companies, social customer service clearly is ‘unexplored territory’. Consequently, misconceptions about it are a common issue.

Which misinterpretations about social customer service commonly show up?

1. Companies Have to Become “Friends” with Their Customers to Provide Excellent Service

Businesses obviously don’t have to try to become friends with their customers. Although people use social media first and foremost to interact with their friends, no company should reach out to customers on that level as well. Just make a simple connection and offer them something in return. Customers can already find great value there.

However, companies often misinterpret the “making connections” part.  It doesn’t matter if you send out a witty reply to show off your human side or offer a discount after a bad experience. Providing value should be a piece of cake. Just put yourself in their shoes, excellent (hassle-free) customer service is all they want! It’s important to build that strong connection so customers already know you’re providing them with excellent service. Otherwise, they’ll simply opt out.

2. Implementing Doesn’t Come Easy

Although social media makes communicating easier, delivering the best possible customer experience requires some important changes in a company’s mind-set. But, it doesn’t have to be complicated! Businesses simply have to place themselves in consumers’ mind and establish open conversations with their audience to reach out to them in the best possible way.

Don’t get me wrong, it definitely requires an important switch in your employees’ minds. Therefore, training your social team is crucial. If you inform your employees from an early stage on and develop it gradually, the necessary changes in your customer service approach will come easily.

3. It Requires Big Investments and Becomes Expensive

The cost of neglecting social customer service is undoubtedly higher than investing in a good social customer service strategy. While investing in the right tool is a significant purchase for a company, the biggest investment actually lies in expanding your support and social teams.

However, a lot of companies make a conscious effort to merge their support team with their social media team. It does require some guts and energy to hire well-trained social agents and invest in a customer service tool that meets all your needs. Just have some confidence, no doubt these investments will pay off!

4. Building Social Customer Service Implies Ditching All of Your Other Customer Service Channels

Social customer service will work in the best possible way if customers are treated in the same personalized and consistent manner across each channel. Companies need to think about how, when, where, and how often they speak to their customers. This not only involves social customer service channels, but also phone support, live chat, and/or mail as well.

Keep in mind that any conversation on social is permanent and public. In some cases, it’s recommended to take a conversation private and provide assistance through the telephone, mail, or deal with it face-to-face. Encountering harsh complaints about your company is difficult, however, deleting it or replying in an offensive way will likely draw even more attention to the bad experience.

5. Since You’re Not Talking Directly to a Person, There’s no Human Touch

In the case of a call center, for example, customers provide agents with their basic account information. However, if a customer sends a tweet to your company with a question or posts something on Facebook, their basic information is already available so you can already create hyper-personalized interactions.

To personalize your customer service process even further, today’s social customer expects you to use the pool of information on their social accounts to fully meet their needs. It’s all about enhancing customer relationships and customer sentiment to improve overall business performance.