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More Call Centers are Using Social Media for Customer Service – And It’s Working

*This post was guest-authored by Ryan Gould from Elevation Marketing*

Instead of assigning social media to a separate department, many call centers are employing social media as an additional – and helpful – customer service tool. Customers, as it turns out, are responding positively.

Studies show that that one out of every three customers prefers social media to using the phone for customer service. Combine good phone with B2B relationship building, and you have a recipe for success (and plenty of customer loyalty).

Why Does Social Work So Well in a Call Center Atmosphere?
1. It’s Personal

66% of consumers say that they are prepared to switch brands if they feel like they’re treated like a mere number. Social media, even if a moniker is used, is as personal as it gets. Combine talking on the phone with an immediate DM (direct message) on Twitter, and even the most rancorous customer is likely to warm a bit.

Show that you’re listening and that you care, and customers will take notice.

2. Easier to Entice a Conversion

People who have become fatigued with the phone pitch may respond positively to a discount offer on social media. In fact, 74% of buyers say that sending personalized and exclusive offers and discounts have a notable influence on their loyalty. These are easy to send via social media, even while you’re on the phone with a customer. If the customer happens to be unhappy, a discount offer may be just enough to turn their displeasure into loyalty times ten.

3. Enhances 1-to-1 Marketing

80% of today’s consumers expect B2B brands to interact with them in real time. Social media allows for instant pinging, either via a Facebook post, tweet, or instant message. These real-time interactions can be combined with excellent phone support to make the customer feel as though he or she is center stage. The next time that customer is then introduced to a competitor product or service, the choice will be clear. Who treated the person the best? Your organization did, with your double-tap customer service skills via phone and social. The competition won’t stand a chance.

4. More Intelligence Gathering

People may be more guarded than they are on the phone. Ask someone what they do for a living, and you may or may not get a straight answer, or you may get a bit of hyperbole. When it comes to social media, on the other hand, you may gather such information just from perusing the individual’s profile.

Tips for Gaining the Most from “Social Care”

Be Where Your Audience Hangs Out
B2B prospects are, according to the latest statistics, primarily on LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, in that order. However, don’t rely on statistics to write your marketing plan. Conduct the proper research, find out where your audience resides, and use that channel (or those channels) to reach out to your audience while engaging on the phone – or immediately after.

Use a Primary Customer Service Channel
When you find out where most of your audience lingers online, use that social channel for the majority of your customer service activity (such as Twitter). Phone staff should be trained on that social channel’s usability and best practices.

But Don’t Neglect the Other Channels
While your phone staff is using Twitter, for instance, customers might be contacting your organization on LinkedIn. Train call center staff to monitor all the other social channels the brand may have in use, as they may be ripe for intelligence and a chance to snag a customer from a competing brand.

Call center staff should be trained to focus on the customer’s problem and should be given free rein to solve that problem; such as providing a discount or initiating a return. These messages can be conveyed on social media while on the phone to act as loyalty initiators that spell dividends down the line.

Post a Schedule of Availability
Don’t make it a surprise to those on the phone that the social channel is also in use. Post a message that showcases phone/social integration along with your phone number and hours of operation.

Be Personal
For best results, have the person who sent the tweet or DM lend a digital signature. This shows that there is a real person behind the message and not some bot. And it makes the user more likely to see the brand as personable rather than a faceless logo.

Don’t Always Wait for the Consumer to Come to You
Call center staff should be trained to search the various social channels in use for a mention of the brand name. Jumping in to offer support, or just to say thanks for mentioning the brand, can go a long way to show that the brand is listening and paying attention.

Each touch point that call centers use via social media, in other words, showcases to consumers that the brand cares, that it’s active, and that people behind the scenes are always there when needed most. How has your company been engaging with customers lately? Let us know in the comments.

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