Developing a social media customer service capability is critical to businesses entering new markets – “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” There is value in responding to both positive and negative comments: According to Harvard Business School, a 5-star rating increase in customer reviews leads to a 9% increase in revenue. Cone Research, meanwhile, revealed that 4 out of 5 customers will reverse a purchase decision after reading a negative online review.
Assuming that a company is doing all it can to meet the local expectations of customers regarding product quality, delivery and support, some bad reviews or customer complaints still cannot be avoided. The problem is that customers are probably already talking about issues on social media – if an upset customer posts a comment on social media, everyone can read it and just as importantly see how the supplier responds, so businesses should enter into the conversation. To succeed, Brands put in place capability to properly engage with the customer, following a number of guidelines:
- Reply over the same social channel, offering an opportunity for more support by email or phone.
- Show the customer that you understand that he is disappointed.
- Recognise what went wrong. Sometimes using a simple apology.
- Offer something for the trouble, like a discount or gift voucher.
- Ask for more feedback – Was the issue resolved? Will they come back in the future? If not, what could change their mind?
- Tell the customer that you hope to see them again.
Customers whose complaints are handled well can be more loyal to your business than those who experienced a smooth transaction the first time around.
A large number of e-commerce buyers will have a question before completing their purchase. (JupiterResearch/Forrester Research Inc). The speed, personal touch and accuracy with which you are able to provide an answer that demonstrates an understanding of their need (and what is understood to be normal in that culture) will make a significant difference to whether they buy and keep buying, and provides an opportunity to share this experience with other potential buyers. To do this, brands should:
- Foster genuine conversations among customers.
- Ensure presence on a number of platforms
- Make it easy for buyers to share with their friends when they choose
- Support and encourage external reviews on other sites
Building a brand in new markets is a tough challenge, and Customer Support via Social Media is an essential element of building and protecting this investment. To get this right, a service with local knowledge and the ability to respond rapidly and appropriately is critical.