Your customer service strategy for 2019 needs a refresh, but it’s easy to do. See how to up your customer service game this year.

After browsing for a while online, you’ve finally found the product you’re looking for. Now you want to know if it’s in stock. A few years ago, you would’ve called or lodged an online enquiry. Today, you’re more likely to engage in instant online chat or with the brand directly via Instagram or Facebook.

These days, consumers contact businesses when and how they want to. From mobile messaging to online chat, when it comes to social media customer service, consumers have the upper hand. Where brands used to offer dedicated channels for customer service, these days, consumers are reaching out anywhere and everywhere. For brands to remain relevant and competitive, they need to up the ante and provide customer service via social media.

In competitive markets, customer experience can be a great differentiator, and social media offers an excellent public platform to deliver outstanding customer service. Brands looking to make waves in 2019 have the opportunity to roll out a proactive customer service strategy and provide a personalised and engaging forum to connect with their customers.

Here are three ways to kick off your 2019 customer service strategy.


Shift to Social

In 2017, Salesforce surveyed into customer service, reporting that over 80% of consumers felt an instant reply to online questions majorly influenced their brand loyalty and perception. In another example, over 70% of survey respondents opted for brands that offered 24/7 customer support.

The bottom line is – customer conversations are shifting away from traditional channels and merging into social channels. Consumers talk to brands the same way they talk to their friends, which includes ranting and recommendations.

By leveraging social media, brands with global customers can be responsive across multiple time-zones. While there are staffing considerations at play, there are plenty of tools, bots and options brands can explore to deliver personalised customer care.


Be Proactive

You may wonder how you can proactively react to your customers when they haven’t contacted you. And while it sounds a little strange, it is possible to keep a real-time eye on overall customer sentiment by monitoring social media channels for mentions of you or your products. With your finger on the pulse, you can proactively and instantly respond directly to your customer enquiries and provide next-level support.

Social listening can be an especially useful tool when a customer mentions a brand or product but doesn’t specifically @ mention the businesses account. Social listening tools can pick up these posts and give brands the upper hand to respond to the user personally and proactively. Where this level of customer service used to be regarded as exceptional, it’s fast becoming the benchmark.

With LiveChat, bots and instant messaging becoming ubiquitous, consumers expect shorter response times and immediate reactions. As online businesses find themselves pushed to not only meet but exceed consumer demands, they’ll need to get listening and acting ASAP.


Rapid Response

Gone are the days of waiting for 24 hours for a response. Now, for the majority of consumers, if it’s not instant, it’s not good enough. Take Facebook Messenger, for example; the platform will only identify your business as a fast-responder if you respond to 90% of messages within 15 minutes. If you have a high response rate and fast response time, people who visit your page will see a ‘Very Responsive to Messages’ badge which will ultimately help drive conversations.

The instantaneous nature of social media has conditioned consumers to expect rapid responses to questions, as well as lightning-fast resolution times. The longer a consumer has to wait for a response, the more frustrated they’ll become, and the less likely they are to convert. As more online businesses roll out chatbots and AI solutions which provide instant, albeit generic, responses, the more pressure online businesses face to deliver instant and personal customer service.

In the pursuit of customer service excellence, it’s essential for brands to recognise that personalised customer support is equally as crucial as instant responses. In an age where everything, including communication, can be automated, brands need to find the sweet spot between human contact and chatbots. While bots can handle simple customer queries, when it comes to personalised, complex conversations, that space is better left to a human.

With the growing demand for real-time customer service, online businesses looking to connect and engage with their customers need to shift their support away from traditional channels into social.


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