Consumers have made social networks a privileged channel of interaction with brands. They think that by challenging a brand on its Facebook page or via a Tweet, they can press for a satisfactory answer. What are the implications for brands?
Some pioneering companies have understood the demands of consumers, and have tried to make the presence on social media in their customer service a differentiation: Société Générale recently reported on the ability of its customers to contact their responsible account via social networks and Voyages-SNCF promises a response within two hours via these social networks.
Who to support these interactions?
The company traditionally entrusted the management of these pages to the Marketing & Communication department. But it does not always have the necessary data for an effective response. Mainly directed to the promotion of products and services or the image of the company, it has no access to information about the customer experience (interaction history and sales, delivery status, etc.) while the customer wants to be spoken to him.
Furthermore, on social networks, the relationship with time is different: users require a response in less than two hours, while the communication works with often long and complex process, interspersed with mandatory validation steps.
Matters relating to the company’s image should certainly be within the communication department’s responsibility, but the customer relationship intrudes on social networks so fast, that one wonders if it is well managed on other channels (phone, email, shop… ).
Humanizing customer relationship
So how do you avoid that social networks become an outlet for disgruntled customer? First, it is essential to consider social networks as a customer relationship channel that communicates, and they demand a presence at all times.
This implies a well-oiled team training with the mysteries of the customer relationship via this channel and the mastery of customs. The response to a post on Facebook is necessarily different from a response to an email. Sometimes we know it is more effective to focus on a response by private message (if, for example, use of personal data): Election of the Customer Service of the Year has shown that private messages are answered much better (+ 30%) than public messages on newspapers (formerly walls).
In a few years, customer relationship management has become a full-fledged. Without proper management, it usually depended on the logistics, sales management or communication. The transverse dimension of the customer relationship is nevertheless brought to address both topics concerning delivery, sales history, technical aspects of the products, accounting, etc.
This change is reflected in practice by another transformation: once considered a cost center, customer service turns into a profit center. Some companies even include the quality of their customer relationships in the overall value of their brand through intangible assets. Finally, management of customer relations now entered the Executive Committee.
So trust the professional customer relationship with social networks. If they are able to address an issue with a specific client, they have no reason not to be with all customers, potential audience of Facebook posts or tweets. They have the skills to respond well, but may need to be accompanied to choose how to respond best suited to that channel.
This is the current challenge for brands. If they are not aware of the specific nature of social networks in the customer relationship, they run the risk of players from the digital – especially attentive to the quality of customer relations, seen with Amazon or Uber – offer services alternative and disruptive that relegate them to the status of the last dinosaurs.