Top Industries For Social Customer Service

By: Sofie De Beule

October 23, 2015

Social media has made it easy for people to vent about bad service. Companies no longer control the terms of engagement with customers for customer service. It’s the customer who determines when and how they reach out to a brand.

You probably already noticed that the quality of customer service varies greatly by industry. These days, being able to quickly problem-solve issues and respond to customers who are dissatisfied with a service or product makes or breaks your business. For example, how fast a brand responds gives you a clear indication of the resources a company allocates to social customer service.

Let’s take a look at the industries that are most important to take on social customer service. What are some of their key pain points?

1. Telecom

Telecoms are in high demand of social customer service. They deal with a high volume of messages on social media on a daily basis and are looking for ways to effectively handle the workload. Moreover, in a highly competitive environment, customer loyalty and customer retention is a key to provide customer care. As it costs 5 times the amount of money to acquire a new customer to retain an old one, customer loyalty is one of the top priorities for telecom brands.

Fortunately, by taking on social customer service, telecom companies are able to forge closer, one-on-one relationships. Because they’re able to quickly identify customer issues and concerns, they can take matters into their own hands and increase customer satisfaction. By actively and proactively monitoring and addressing customer concerns, companies can gain innovative insights which will help them improve their product and service.

2. Travel & Hospitality

Similar to the telecom industry, travel and hospitality deal with fierce competition. Travel agencies, booking websites, hotel chains, etc. should truly lead the way to ensure they’re at the forefront of customers’ social media spheres. Because they have the ability to engage in real-time, last-minute travel deals and promotions can easily be shared with their audience. Moreover, travel and hospitality brands can leverage the huge pool of customer feedback to further optimize their service and offering.

Needless to say travel and hospitality brands frequently deal with a large set of grumpy travellers. From the moment they’re searching for a holiday until the moment they arrive at their holiday destination, travellers are armed with smart phones ready to reach out to brands via Twitter.

A complete and positive experience starts with customers booking a trip, providing up-to-date travel information (e.g. timetables), giving venue recommendations beforehand, and proactively providing information. When there’s a disruption along this journey, customers will automatically turn to the website or social media to vent about their frustrations. In short, the omni-channel customer expects the same level of customer service, regardless of the point of contact. Because they can have several interactions with a brand over a short time span, brands need to have contact and historical information to provide context to a conversation. Social media provides them with the perfect means to instantly collect this information.

3. Transportation & Logistics

Similar to travel and hospitality brands, transportation companies deal with unhappy travellers on the go. That’s why their mobile device is the preferred channel to reach out to brands – with Twitter just a few clicks and swipes away. When engaging with transportation brands, customers rely heavily on the availability of instant information. That’s why it’s essential for transportation companies to effectively handle crisis situations. In addition, swiftly providing real-time information (e.g. train or bus timetables, shipping information, etc.) is key to optimize and provide quality service. Social media provides transportation companies with the ability to offer customized information, in real-time, tailored to their customers’ demands and needs.

4. Finance, Insurance & Banking

Financial institutions, insurance brands and banking companies take on a more customer-centric approach, focusing on truly connecting with their customers. Nowadays, they meet their customers through a myriad of online, mobile, and social channels. More and more customers turn to social to interact with their financial providers. That’s why actively engaging on social media has become an absolute business necessity.

More than any other industry the financial services vertical is subject to a lot of regulations. Listening to conversations, understanding their wants and needs, and monitoring industry trends on social media will help the financial industry to better understand their customers and focus on resources. Financial institutions need to look for new ways to establish long-term relationships. By leveraging CRM data gathered through social media, the financial service industry will be able to nurture long-term customer relationships, and enable up-selling.

5. eCommerce

Where can you find your customers most of the time? The answer is easy and obvious: online.

Evidently, the eCommerce industry entirely evolves around the web. People who feel comfortable enough online to buy goods over the internet are more likely to be social as well, for the same reason. Let’s take the example of a possible, worst case scenario: if an eCommerce website is down, their entire business is down too. What strikes the most is that this usually happens during the peaks of their business, during the holiday season.

Luckily, social media provides eCommerce brands with the perfect means to enhance the shopping experience. Exceeding customer expectations with a speedy, relevant, and authentic response is a great way to further distinguish yourself from competition – especially during those important peaks throughout the year (e.g. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.). Because most communication with customers happens online, you can easily collect data from previous interactions to provide context to a conversation and improve the overall customer experience.

6. Retail

Consumers have a strong desire to engage with retail brands (think about brands like Nike, H&M, and Zara) because they are the brands consumers actually love (and love talking about). The retail industry also strongly focusses on a large set of marketing campaigns throughout the year. Customers in the retail industry expect an instant resolution or they’ll easily walk away to a competitor. That’s why quality customer service can enhance the shopping experience and boost repeat purchases.

Because retails brand are usually among the love brands and are able to count on a huge pack of brand advocates, swiftly handling customer queries will make people want to share these success stories even more.

Don’t Ignore Your Customers

Brands in the telecom, travel and hospitality, transportation and logistics, finance, insurance and banking, eCommerce and retail industries can no longer afford not to be on social media and actively engaging with their customers. However, the truth is that it doesn’t really matter which precise industry your (B2C) business operates in. If you want to compete in the industry, you need a presence on social media to secure your place in the industry.

It doesn’t matter what industry your brand operates in, simply don’t ignore your customers.

Furthermore, to truly gain competitive advantage, embrace the idea of proactive social customer care. Why not reach out to customers even before they themselves get frustrated and dissatisfied? For example, before customers notice there’s an issue with your product or service, use your social channels to proactively communicate with them.