The Clarabridge Marketing Team recently sat down with Dimitri Callens, Director of Product Management at Clarabridge, and asked him to answer 5 questions on the state of the social media management industry. Here’s his take:

1.What do you believe are the key ingredients for a brand to engage successfully with their customers on social media?

First and foremost, you have to listen to what is being said about you out there. There are plenty of tools that will help you understand the trends, your audience, and what they like and dislike about what you offer. Then adapt your messaging to your audiences. Don’t try to push your product—today’s generations see right through that. Be honest and post content that can spark their interest about what your product can do for them.

And if you are offering customer service on social, make sure it is in the DNA of your company to see customer service as an investment, not as a cost. If everyone in your company believes helping customers is a positive thing, instead of a burden, it will shine through in how you appear online—for anyone to see!

 

2. As an industry insider, what are you most excited about concerning innovation in the field?

This is not a technical innovation but one that is happening in the minds: more and more executives understand that social customer service should not be seen as a cost, but as an investment.

I recently had this discussion with a CEO of a rapidly growing online retailer that specializes in car luggage racks. “It literally costs me money having my people answer customer questions, and it does not gain me a penny as the product is already sold,” he said. Of course, from an accountant’s point of view, he was right. But even from a broader view, he told me it was a cost. I did not feel like angering him more at that point, so I left it at that and we had a fun evening. However, the next day he was in the same line as I was waiting for our high-speed train, which was delayed. We decided to have a quick meal together. He ordered his but forgot to ask whether there were any mushrooms in there, as he really disliked those. Upon getting served, he asked the employee, but the employee did not know. “There might be some in the sauce” was the reply, to which he responded “If you don’t know this basic knowledge, you will not see me here anymore.” A second later, he rolled his eyes, glanced at me and told me “Okay, you win.” At that moment, I pushed him over the edge by telling him, “Imagine if everyone could read how this conversation went between you and this business, like on social media.”

It is good to see that more and more businesses understand that a penny not lost is a penny won. Definitely in these economic times, when services that come with a product are becoming more and more the core of many businesses, it is even more important to retain customers than win new ones.

The great technical innovations of today are the huge steps taken in having computers understand human language. The better applications out there offer real-time analytics on incoming customer queries that understand whether a question is urgent or not, whether a customer has to make a lot of effort in getting what they want or not. This allows for the most important questions to be routed immediately to agents, while less urgent ones can wait a bit longer. We all know that some of our questions to brands are not as urgent as others. The issue before was that brands were unable to make that distinction without having all incoming queries read immediately by humans (impossible) or channeling their service to specific channels (often not those that consumers like to use). Text analytics help brands in prioritizing what is most important.

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Photography by: Gheerwyn Clicque, follow on Instagram at @the_acrhomatist