The always-on, digital-first consumers of today don’t have the time to hold for a customer service agent. Where once customers would reflexively dial a toll-free number or send a web form into the ether, now, they send direct messages to brands on social media—expecting timely, superior service when they do.
Between 2020-2021, there was a 110% increase in consumers who identified social messaging as their preferred channel to resolve customer service issues. Businesses are following suit, and 90% of executives agree that in the next three years, social will become the primary communication channel to connect with existing and prospective customers
The COVID-19 pandemic may have been a tipping point, but this trend was a long time coming according to Gerard Murnaghan, General Manager and Vice President of Sprout Social. “Consumers want three things—convenience, speed and service. Social messaging offers all three, providing a human touch at a level of accessibility which cuts out the long wait times and expense of helplines.”
Social messaging channels are also advantageous for customer service agents. In fact, agents are 50% more likely to want to message with a customer than use traditional methods, because they’re able to work on multiple tickets at once and return to a conversation at any time.
Quick, convenient service contributes to a positive customer experience (CX), but 80% of consumers also expect businesses on social to interact with their customers in more meaningful ways. The social messaging surge is an opportunity for brands to meet those rising expectations, but marketing departments can’t do it alone. Companies that build a coordinated approach to social messaging stand to transform their customer experience in a way that increases loyalty and drives revenue.
Social media messaging is a core function of Sprout Social’s social media management suite and our friends at Zendesk—champions of customer service—are as passionate about messaging as we are. Together, we’ve put together this guide to help your business integrate social messaging best practices into your CX strategies.
While service tickets are meant to be resolved and closed, messaging channels facilitate ongoing relationships with customers.
“Messaging is the gateway to providing real, authentic conversational experiences—the kinds of experiences your customers expect and deserve,” says Mike Gozzo, Vice President of Product at Zendesk.
There are plenty of reasons people will message your business. Whatever the motive, brands can use social messaging to turn good conversations into great experiences.
Provide one-on-one customer support
It can’t be stressed enough: how you care for your customers distinguishes you from your competitors.
Social messaging is an accessible, direct line to your brand that consumers will use to sort out order inquiries, billing issues, product questions, quality concerns and more. In a one-on-one conversation, your brand representatives can focus specifically on the needs of that customer in the moment. Plus, it’s an opportunity to humanize your brand, remind customers that there’s a person behind the screen and create personal connections.
Redirect public questions and complaints
Often customers will start a conversation with your brand by leaving a public comment on your post or tagging your brand with an @mention. When those interactions involve a customer service request, sensitive subject or other issues that would be better handled privately, it’s best to transition the conversation to social messaging.
Hiya, I'll be happy to help with this. I've just dropped you a follow, can you send us a DM with your order number and billing address? Thanks, Tom
— TK Maxx (@TKMaxxHelp) May 5, 2021
In a private conversion, customers will feel more comfortable sharing identifiable details like order confirmation numbers, email addresses and phone numbers. This also creates a safer space for consumers to share candid, but valuable, feedback.
Support social commerce
The vast majority of executives agree that the future of commerce will be social. We’re already seeing instances of major brands investing in tools to enable ordering via Facebook Messenger and Instagram. As social becomes a bigger point of sale, having a social messaging strategy and the right tools in place to meet customers where they made their purchase will be even more important.
Practice proactive customer service outreach
Gartner predicts that by 2025, outbound customer engagement interactions will outnumber inbound.
By combining rich customer and social data, businesses can identify opportunities to proactively support customers through messaging platforms. When done effectively, this will minimize customer effort, reduce service tickets and demonstrate that your brand is attuned to your customers’ needs.
Keep in mind that when a business sends an outbound message—whether that’s an ad or something more transactional like a receipt—the customer can respond in the same conversation thread about anything at any time.
Tools like Sprout and Zendesk, which sync message history and customer data, will help ensure that your team isn’t caught off guard and has the context to engage with individual consumers in consistently meaningful ways.
Social is and will continue to be front-and-center in the customer experience. As social messaging continues to gain traction as customers’ preferred channel for communication, don’t let your business get left behind. Embrace collaboration between social and customer service teams and invest in tools that power conversational customer experiences.
Request a personalized demo of Sprout Social.
Start messaging your customers with Zendesk.
About Sprout Social
Sprout Social offers deep social media listening and analytics, social management, customer care and advocacy solutions to more than 25,000 brands and agencies worldwide. Sprout’s suite of solutions supports every aspect of a cohesive social program and enables organizations of all sizes to extend their reach, amplify their brand and create the kind of real connection with their consumers that drives their businesses forward. Headquartered in Chicago, Sprout operates across major social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Zendesk started the customer experience revolution in 2007 by enabling any business around the world to take their customer service online. Today, Zendesk is the champion of great service everywhere for everyone, and powers billions of conversations, connecting more than 100,000 brands with hundreds of millions of customers over telephony, chat, email, messaging, social channels, communities, review sites and help centers. Zendesk products are built with love to be loved. The company was conceived in Copenhagen, Denmark, built and grown in California, taken public in New York City, and today employs more than 4,000 people across the world. Learn more at www.zendesk.com.
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