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5 ways to deliver better social customer service in 2020

By Nic Ray, DataEQ CEO

In Britain, business must navigate a post-Brexit landscape, while South African business faces a harsh economic outlook with low prospects for growth. Meanwhile, the rapid spread of outcomes-focused market conduct regulations and the spread of consumer activism especially online, means that businesses must take proactive steps to monitor and manage new high-impact risk.

I believe that customer-centric strategies that prioritise valuable feedback and focus on connecting the voice of customers to decision-makers will yield critical growth in the year ahead. Here are five ways to deliver better social customer service in 2020.

Listen to what your customers say and don’t ignore social media

Businesses that have their finger on the pulse of their customer sentiment are leading the way in delivering better products and services. Social media is too often ignored by executives as a marketing platform for influencers or angry consumers. Companies delivering leading customer experience are using social media conversation to inform decision making and improve customer-centricity, from in-store to app improvements.

Don’t get distracted. Cut out the noise

We’re faced with an inordinate amount of content and information all day. From social media to the news cycle, there’s no letting down from trolls, bots and irrelevant chatter, particularly online. Much of the inbound feedback that organisations receive isn’t going to help optimise the business or mitigate risk. But one can’t afford to miss the data that potentially could. The key is to find what’s high risk and valuable without having your analytics and customer service teams sift through loads of irrelevant noisy data.

Prioritise high-risk interactions first

Social media has empowered consumers and stakeholders to take on corporates, from market conduct and governance to unfair pricing or accusations of discrimination. Online crises can quickly spiral out of control, hurting short-term share price, leading to costly regulatory sanctions and critically, damaging long-term consumer loyalty. Momentum’s about-turn after its life insurance claim debacle shows that the court of public opinion, particularly online, cannot be ignored. These charges from consumers must not be taken lightly and businesses that are serious about managing risk, can’t afford to miss these. Find them, prioritise them and proactively nip them in the bud.

Prioritise acquiring, saving and then serving customers. In that order

Executives often ask me how they can identify customers looking to leave or buy with them. A lot of of the time, you don’t have to look, they’re telling you. Just look at digital channels. Saving and serving customers on social media is a massively missed opportunity. Ensure that community managers (where they still exist) and online customer care teams prioritise saving customers looking to leave and new ones looking to onboard. Then, focus on serving your customer service requests.

Empower your teams with the tools they require

Serving customers isn’t enough. Consumers demand always-on and responsive service. Ensure that across your business your teams are equipped and empowered with the requisite tools and permissions to make decisions. Every day thousands of customers threaten to leave their service providers from banks to insurers. Our SA Telco research found 1 in 10 customers threatened to switch telco networks. In the UK, we found that 12.2% of unhappy customers threatened to cancel with their provider. The common denominators amongst unhappy customers threatening to quit across both markets were slow turnaround time and poor customer care. It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned your organisation is, or how customer-centric you profess to be, without the right tools to deliver speedy and prioritised care, you will lose out to competitors.