HELP! Using Social Customer Care in Times of Crisis

By: Kate Zimmerman

January 29, 2016

Sentiment Analysis
Social Customer Care
Social Engagement
social listening
social media
Speech Analytics
Voice of the Customer

As many of us are too well aware, the mid-Atlantic area was slammed with a “Snowzilla” blizzard over the weekend. As home to the Clarabridge headquarters just west of DC, many Clarabridge employees have been shoveling out more snow than we know what to do with and wondering when life will finally return to normal. I know that I have frequently turned to Twitter hoping to find out what to expect next.

Times of crisis, be they weather-related or specific to your product or business, can cause a great deal of distress and frustration for your customers. Being there for them in a critical time of need is a huge opportunity to improve their experience with your business and develop a long-term, loyal relationship. But how can you do that?

Social customer care is a prime opportunity to disseminate information and answer questions during times of crises. It allows for real-time, personal messages that can reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people at once. We’ve already seen how Verizon used social customer care to help their customers affected by Hurricane Sandy. By listening to and analyzing their customers on social media, Verizon was able to identify widespread worry surrounding overage charges and late bills and quickly provide a resolution, and peace of mind, to their customers during an already very difficult time.

It also meets your customers where they already are. Using Engagor, we have seen nearly 200,000 mentions of “Blizzard 2016” on Twitter in the past week alone.

So far this week, the DC-area municipalities have done a fantastic job keeping their residents up to date on closings, snow clearing progress, and safety reminders. For example, Fairfax County, and many other municipalities, created maps to show which streets had been plowed and the plan for continuing to clear other streets.

Many have been also been responding to individual questions about closings, delays, and plans for returning to normal. Social customer care is a great resource to communicate with your customers in real time and at a low cost. Responding to a question on Twitter is much more cost effective and a more pleasant experience than having a customer wait on hold in your call center.


Many local businesses have turned to social media as well. My gym has regularly updated their Facebook status with their hours and class schedules, saving me, and hundreds of others, from needing to call and tying down their phone lines (especially pertinent if they’re already down!).


Finally, as you can see in all of the above examples, social customer care is a way to personally connect with your customers. It’s an opportunity to not only help solve their problem, but also to empathize with them during their time of need. Make sure that your social customer care operators have a set of guidelines to keep them within your brand, but are also empowered to help.


To learn more about how social customer care can help your business in times of crises and during normal operations, check out this Aberdeen eBook, Social Customer Care: The Path to Success.


Kate Zimmerman is a Content Marketing Specialist at Clarabridge. Kate focuses on building content that supports CX efforts, product marketing, analyst relations, and has become an industry expert in Customer Experience Management. Kate holds a B.A in Politics from the University of Virginia and can be found on Twitter at @kmzimm.