7 Growing Myths Around Social Customer Service 

Social customer service is going to reduce negative sentiment of the brand, writes Deep Sherchan, CMO at Simplify360 in his post busting myths around Social Customer service 

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Editor’s Note: Deep Sherchan, guest editor at LI for the month of April writes about how call centers are evolving in the social media age and how they can adapt to Social CRM. You can follow Deep on Twitter – @bexdeep (Click here to follow his articles).

Why do you complain? Why do we spam brand pages with multiple complaints? The answer is simple – we want our issues to be resolved, and we are desperate about it. Most of us take to social media as our last resort, hoping to finally have our issues heard and resolved. The advent of social media has put ‘customer service’ under the spotlight, proliferating the idea of Customer Delight. With companies like Zappos pioneering the new types of corporate DNA for service companies, many brands are trying to follow this template of success. But are the brands really following the right direction?

Hundreds of events happen every month across the globe around social media and customer delight – with repetitive slogans and recycled content. As a result, the industry has been bearing with certain myths around social customer service. Let’s tackle each of these myths individually and bring out the truth:

1. Faster response equals to improved customer satisfaction

Nope! It is not true. Customer satisfaction is not at all related to speedy response, it’s actually related to speedy resolution of the customer’s issue. Most of the time, brands providing standard fast responses, ignore the plight of the customer and try hard to be there at the nick of time. This action doesn’t necessarily translate into better customer experience. It is important for brands to have a reasonable response time, so that the customer service agent has enough time to dissect the case and provide better responses. Better response is much more effective than a faster standard response.

2. Social customer service is going to reduce negative sentiment of the brand

One of the KPIs most brands like to tackle is “Overall Sentiment on Twitter”. What is my sentiment score? But let me break your expectation here – no the sentiment score doesn’t improve through social customer service. When a brand opens up their social media channel for customer service, it is an open invitation for customers to raise their issues on social media. Hence, essentially the brand will see increase in the complaints and queries on social media, more than ever. Therefore, trying to improve your sentiment score via social customer service is a failed logic.

3. Auto reply is essential to address customer’s grievance

Social Media is not like any other channel where one goes to interact with a bot. In case of telephone, automated response and interaction can help brands guide customers towards correct point of contact but this is not true on social media. The foundation of social media is social engagement, where customers reach out to brands expecting proper responses. If he/she really wanted an automated response they would raise a ticket via email and not social media. Therefore, the idea of implementing auto-responses to address issues is a wrong idea that can backfire at brand’s reputation.

4. Social media can replace other support channels

Social media is a multi-purpose channel than can cater to various business units from marketing, sales or even HR, but it can in no way become the ultimate platform for customer service. Emails and phone calls are still relevant and serve their own purpose. Moreover, emails and phones play a major role in resolving customer cases; hence they work hand in hand with social media. Social media alone cannot be used to address all the problems customers are facing. It would be naïve to think that it can. Therefore, when you hear that social media is the future of customer service; it doesn’t mean it is the substitute for existing channels.

5. Case resolution is the responsibility of support team

In a standard large organization, IT and call center team works together to establish technology to carry out proper customer support. Hence when it comes to social media, it is largely ignored as a serious channel and everything tends to be routed to call-centers. Social media teams pick up the complaints and pass it on to the call center team, hoping they would resolve. However, that really doesn’t solve customer problems because the customer has come to social media exactly in-order to avoid call centers. But this process is being implemented across many organizations, without realizing that they are cheating on customer expectations. Social media, if rightly implemented through technology, can be an important platform not just for responding to cases, but for resolving cases too.

6. Social CRM is only about customer service

When it comes to social, customers have complete freedom to write and say anything they want because there is no restriction. Therefore, the social customer service team has to be ready for any type of engagement. It could be complaints, queries, feedbacks, satire, jokes or even a simple pat on the back. Therefore, the team needs to have a wide range of skill sets to understand customer psychology and react to them on a public platform. Hence social CRM is about complete customer engagement and one cannot ignore conversations based on categories like marketing, HR or sales related etc.

7. It is only about Facebook and Twitter

Twitter and Facebook are both trying to be relevant as a social customer service platform, as both of them have launched features and functionalities that can enable social teams to manage engagement on social media. However, the truth is that social service has gone beyond them. It’s also Pinterest, Instagram or YouTube. As mentioned in my previous article brands need to access each platform individually, to find out which one is relevant to them as a social customer service channel.

In summary, one needs to be honest towards the goal of social customer service, be aware of these myths and learn to stay away from them.