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Social Care: A Little Effort Leads to Lots of Retention

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Have you ever sent an angry tweet to a company because maybe your Internet wasn’t working or your flight was canceled and you had to sleep on the floor of a dirty airport while they vacuumed around your head all night and the worst Christmas songs played on repeat?

Join the club. Releasing that anger via public tweet or Facebook comment sure beats looking up the customer support phone number, waiting forever on hold and berating someone who bears zero responsibility for the wrongs you experienced.

If you’re a social media manager, you’ve probably seen your fair share of this action lately. And how you treat these complaints and curiosities can have a huge affect on customer retention.

Press @ to speak with a representative.

According to Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, nearly half of U.S. consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction or complain. That number is only increasing as consumers’ expectation of a seamless brand experience rises.

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This trend toward a holistic customer service approach is often referred to as “social care.” A recent Forbes post found that companies with a social care experience see:

  • A 5.6% YoY increase in first-contact resolutions

  • A 6.5% increase in agent productivity.

  • Fewer customer complaints YOY.

  • 7.5% YoY increase in customer retention.

Take those numbers back to your boss and YOU will be the boss before long.

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More about that last number – it’s almost triple the average YOY retention increase of companies without social care programs in place. Head scrambling thinking of ways to incorporate this knowledge into your program? Fear not; these tips will get you started:

Practice active social listening. Keep an eye on any and all mentions of your company on social media. Know what people are saying about your product and be ready to step in and divert the conversation if necessary.

Create an FAQ response template. Note the top 10 questions that you see repeatedly on social media and create a response template. Review it periodically to make sure it contains accurate information.

Know the flow. As the “first touch” with customers on social media, it’s important to know when to escalate the matter to the customer support team for in-depth attention. If you cannot resolve the issue within two interactions, move it up the chain. The customer support team at your company no doubt has an internal hierarchy in place for troubleshooting and issue escalation. Identify the proper contacts on that team and collaborate to develop processes for handling issues.

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CRM integration. This can be a bit of a longer-term goal, but integrating your social media platform and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can go a long way toward providing personalized service. When your support team can address the customer as a person and not just a support ticket number, you’re doing it right.

Creating an effective social care program requires diligence and a solid response infrastructure that involves more than one team. However, the rewards can be well worth the effort and make a significant difference to your company’s bottom line.

For more advice on creating a rock-solid social media strategy, make sure you aren’t committing one of The 7 Deadly Sins of Marketing.

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Stay up-to-date with the latest resources, tips and must-know news for enterprise marketing, creative and digital asset management professionals.

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