Challenges in Social Media Customer Service

by | Nov 4, 2016 | Customer Service | 0 comments

“Some customers want to not only have a voice, but magnify that voice and revel in the notoriety they can gain [from being] vindictive. Companies need a comprehensive social media strategy that ensures all customers are truly heard, regardless of the channel they use, but they also need a strategy for customers who simply want to discredit the company at any cost.” – Gabriel Bristol

Even though the ‘world’ seems to have a presence on some social media platform or other, most of the interactions fail to deliver any real value – they are just part of the noise and melee, thereby unable to attract the attention of customers. While companies now have several opportunities to serve their customers owing to the plethora of social channels available to them, they also face several challenges in social media customer service, which they often find hard to overcome. However, without overcoming these challenges, it would be very hard for companies to use these channels optimally and provide any real value to customers. Customers are the reason that companies exist. They are the lifeblood of a business, and it is essential for any company to provide top class customer service all the time to ensure their customers stay with them, and that they are able to attract many more.

It is imperative for a company to overcome the challenges of social media customer service, since the basis of great service is offering it through as many options as possible and those that would be convenient and preferred by their customers. However, before undertaking to provide social media customer service it would be imperative for companies to first ascertain whether they would be able to sustain it, provide the desired quality of service, and overcome the repeated challenges in providing high standards of social media customer service. The number of customers using social media to connect with companies has risen significantly, and research shows that customers seem to be increasingly dissatisfied with the kind of social media customer service that companies provide. This obviously means that companies either do not recognize the challenges, or are unable to overcome them while providing service via social media. This is proving to be a major obstacle in the path of success for companies.

By focusing on overcoming the challenges in social media customer service, companies afford themselves opportunities to create engagement and form bonds with existing customers, and present themselves in a positive light to prospective ones. Communicating through and providing social media customer service, is a great way of not only getting through to the target audience, but also to gain visibility with a much wider audience and ‘market’. Given the immediacy of and instant awareness that social media affords, companies have a platform that enables them to ‘speak’ about their company, the products and services, and the many benefits it can offer customers. Such a medium of was not available earlier, which is possibly why companies may have jumped on the bandwagon without ascertaining the obstacles and the challenges in social media customer service, and hence continue to struggle to provide the kind of service that customers expect and deserve.

One of the biggest challenges in social media customer service is that despite wanting the best for customers, companies are unable to display it well enough and fail to deliver on the promises they make to customers. We know that failing to keep promises to customers, is one of the top reasons of dissent and customer attrition. As mentioned, social media is all about instant service and immediacy. Customers expect responses in real time – whether it is responses to queries, or solutions to their problems. All the interactions that customers decide to make with companies are opportunities for companies to create engagement and interest in what they do, but many are unable to convert these opportunities to their advantage. The fact is that these companies have been unable to keep up with customer expectations – which are moving at an unprecedented fast pace.

Customers are using social media as a channel for communication – with businesses and with their friends and associates. Customers made their expectations very apparent, with regard to social media customer service, and therefore, are unable to understand why companies cannot comply. Customers expect, for example, that companies would recognize their preferences of which social media channel they wish to be contacted through, and it would be rather annoying for them when companies fail to remember and comply. Research shows that the numbers of customers using and expecting social media customer service has risen dramatically. From 2009 to 2014, the percentage of such users for just one social media platform rose to double – 11% to 22%, which is a strong indicator of future trends. It is surprising then that companies still have not been able to overcome the challenges in social media customer service and leave themselves vulnerable to customer ire and a poor reputation.

Social media and the expectations of the kind of customer service that should happen through it, is one of the strongest indicators of the shift in the balance of power in favour of customers. The high visibility and reach of social media, has ensured that customers remain in control given that their discussions, positive and negative comments can hugely effect the reputation of brands and companies. Research shows that customers are more likely to speak about their negative experiences over social media with a company than they would about the positive ones. Amongst the challenges in social media customer service, companies seem to fail to grasp the customer’s need for speed, accuracy, and ease. Customers want to know that companies value their time, and respect the business they give the company, and if companies are unable to display appreciation, they would most likely be at the receiving end of customer ire.

Another of the challenges in social media customer service for companies is that their service personnel seem ill equipped and untrained to deal with the fast pace and high visibility of these platforms. The very nature of social media makes it congenial for more intimate, close, and personable relationships with customers, while making it a cost-effective and efficient manner of spreading word about the company. It is imperative for companies and their representatives to know the customers and understand their needs, and that it is necessary to interact with them and gain their feedback rather than simply broadcasting news about the company. The mistake that companies make is that they forget to use customer information and data as opportunities to increase engagement and loyalty – instead they become too busy talking about themselves and their products.

The reason that companies continually face challenges in social media customer service is because they go into it without preparation. Social media is all about high volumes and real time information, and unless companies are able to handle the intensity of customer messages and requests, providing top class social media customer service will always prove to be a herculean task. Brands and companies just have to equip themselves with responding quickly and accurately to customers, and constantly check back on customer expectations. They must adapt to the current business pace, and use technology to overcome their limitations, ensuring that they can meet the tall demands of today’s smart customers.

“Some customers want to not only have a voice, but magnify that voice and revel in the notoriety they can gain [from being] vindictive. Companies need a comprehensive social media strategy that ensures all customers are truly heard, regardless of the channel they use, but they also need a strategy for customers who simply want to discredit the company at any cost.” – Gabriel Bristol

Even though the ‘world’ seems to have a presence on some social media platform or other, most of the interactions fail to deliver any real value – they are just part of the noise and melee, thereby unable to attract the attention of customers. While companies now have several opportunities to serve their customers owing to the plethora of social channels available to them, they also face several challenges in social media customer service, which they often find hard to overcome. However, without overcoming these challenges, it would be very hard for companies to use these channels optimally and provide any real value to customers. Customers are the reason that companies exist. They are the lifeblood of a business, and it is essential for any company to provide top class customer service all the time to ensure their customers stay with them, and that they are able to attract many more.

It is imperative for a company to overcome the challenges of social media customer service, since the basis of great service is offering it through as many options as possible and those that would be convenient and preferred by their customers. However, before undertaking to provide social media customer service it would be imperative for companies to first ascertain whether they would be able to sustain it, provide the desired quality of service, and overcome the repeated challenges in providing high standards of social media customer service. The number of customers using social media to connect with companies has risen significantly, and research shows that customers seem to be increasingly dissatisfied with the kind of social media customer service that companies provide. This obviously means that companies either do not recognize the challenges, or are unable to overcome them while providing service via social media. This is proving to be a major obstacle in the path of success for companies.

By focusing on overcoming the challenges in social media customer service, companies afford themselves opportunities to create engagement and form bonds with existing customers, and present themselves in a positive light to prospective ones. Communicating through and providing social media customer service, is a great way of not only getting through to the target audience, but also to gain visibility with a much wider audience and ‘market’. Given the immediacy of and instant awareness that social media affords, companies have a platform that enables them to ‘speak’ about their company, the products and services, and the many benefits it can offer customers. Such a medium of was not available earlier, which is possibly why companies may have jumped on the bandwagon without ascertaining the obstacles and the challenges in social media customer service, and hence continue to struggle to provide the kind of service that customers expect and deserve.

One of the biggest challenges in social media customer service is that despite wanting the best for customers, companies are unable to display it well enough and fail to deliver on the promises they make to customers. We know that failing to keep promises to customers, is one of the top reasons of dissent and customer attrition. As mentioned, social media is all about instant service and immediacy. Customers expect responses in real time – whether it is responses to queries, or solutions to their problems. All the interactions that customers decide to make with companies are opportunities for companies to create engagement and interest in what they do, but many are unable to convert these opportunities to their advantage. The fact is that these companies have been unable to keep up with customer expectations – which are moving at an unprecedented fast pace.

Customers are using social media as a channel for communication – with businesses and with their friends and associates. Customers made their expectations very apparent, with regard to social media customer service, and therefore, are unable to understand why companies cannot comply. Customers expect, for example, that companies would recognize their preferences of which social media channel they wish to be contacted through, and it would be rather annoying for them when companies fail to remember and comply. Research shows that the numbers of customers using and expecting social media customer service has risen dramatically. From 2009 to 2014, the percentage of such users for just one social media platform rose to double – 11% to 22%, which is a strong indicator of future trends. It is surprising then that companies still have not been able to overcome the challenges in social media customer service and leave themselves vulnerable to customer ire and a poor reputation.

Social media and the expectations of the kind of customer service that should happen through it, is one of the strongest indicators of the shift in the balance of power in favour of customers. The high visibility and reach of social media, has ensured that customers remain in control given that their discussions, positive and negative comments can hugely effect the reputation of brands and companies. Research shows that customers are more likely to speak about their negative experiences over social media with a company than they would about the positive ones. Amongst the challenges in social media customer service, companies seem to fail to grasp the customer’s need for speed, accuracy, and ease. Customers want to know that companies value their time, and respect the business they give the company, and if companies are unable to display appreciation, they would most likely be at the receiving end of customer ire.

Another of the challenges in social media customer service for companies is that their service personnel seem ill equipped and untrained to deal with the fast pace and high visibility of these platforms. The very nature of social media makes it congenial for more intimate, close, and personable relationships with customers, while making it a cost-effective and efficient manner of spreading word about the company. It is imperative for companies and their representatives to know the customers and understand their needs, and that it is necessary to interact with them and gain their feedback rather than simply broadcasting news about the company. The mistake that companies make is that they forget to use customer information and data as opportunities to increase engagement and loyalty – instead they become too busy talking about themselves and their products.

The reason that companies continually face challenges in social media customer service is because they go into it without preparation. Social media is all about high volumes and real time information, and unless companies are able to handle the intensity of customer messages and requests, providing top class social media customer service will always prove to be a herculean task. Brands and companies just have to equip themselves with responding quickly and accurately to customers, and constantly check back on customer expectations. They must adapt to the current business pace, and use technology to overcome their limitations, ensuring that they can meet the tall demands of today’s smart customers.

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