Where does social customer service fit into the customer journey?

By: Sofie De Beule

October 19, 2016

brick and mortar store
company growth
customer journey mapping
customer loyalty
customer relationship
customer relationship management
purchase decision
social customer experience
social customer service interaction

These days, understanding and mapping out the customer journey is the talk of the town. The customer journey is the sum of all experiences a customer goes through from getting to know your product to building an actual relationship with a business.  

At the same time, social media has become the preferred means for customers to reach out to brands. That’s why it is so important to understand the role social customer service plays (or should play) in improving customer experience.

According to McKinsey and Company, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. That’s why every social media interaction is considered to be a ‘moment of truth’. Customers are merciless–and one single negative interaction with a customer on social is enough to make or break a relationship.

Understanding how social customer services ties into the customer journey is key to:

  • Deliver on the promise to be a more customer-centric organization
  • Gain greater visibility for your efforts across the organization
  • Grow your company’s success

Social as a channel is used to communicate with brands throughout every step of the journey. Customers are using social throughout many different touchpoints in their journey. Below are a few important moments:

1. When customers are making the initial purchase decision. Before a sale actually happens, customers turn to social to ask for advice. Just like customers ask questions to in-store sales staff in your average brick-and-mortar store, customers don’t hold back from asking questions online. As a matter of fact, they expect the same level of service and experience from online shopping as they get when shopping the traditional way. Answering basic questions on Twitter or Facebook such as “I’m failing to check out online. What’s happening?” or “What’s your return policy for item X?” can help close or cut off the deal.

2. Once they’ve become a customers, they will come back to you for a variety of reasons. Once customers decide to do business with you, customers keep coming back when they need something new.. Some even come back to you on a regular basis (think about how many times you contact your health insurance provider, utility provider, or public transport company). It’s important to deliver the same level of service at each step of the game. An interaction with a customer can quickly become negative if your company responds with an impersonal, rude message, or even worse, leaves questions unanswered.

3. To complain about your service. Unfortunately, sooner or later, customers will reach out to you with complaints. The worst thing you can do is to make the customer’s experience even worse by providing poor customer service (or offering none at all). Make sure you respond fast and follow up with the right solution to show your customers how much they mean to you, and how invested you are in keeping them as a customer.

From acquiring customers to going to great lengths to keep customers loyal, it’s important to provide a consistent experience on social throughout every step of the customer journey. To learn more on how you can to provide a better customer experience and how social customer service adds to it, download our Ultimate Guide to Customer Journey Mapping.

Sofie De Beule is Content Marketing Specialist at Clarabridge. She helps establish Clarabridge as a thought leader for Social Customer Service and Customer Experience. Sofie’s an Engagor expert, Clarabridge’s best-in-class social customer service solution, inspiring brands on how to manage and get their social customer service program off the ground. Sofie holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations & International Marketing from Artevelde University College Ghent. Read more from Sofie on Twitter @sofiedbeule.