The Benefits of Social Media for Support
Social media provides Support with a platform from which to monitor relevant communities and provide early awareness of issues, creating the opportunity for timely and proactive responses. Early detection of and corrective action can reach thousands of customers at a fraction of the cost of assisted support.
Early Warning, Extended Reach and Influence
A Support team monitoring select social media forums may learn that customers are interested in using a specific product feature but are having difficulty understanding how to get the desired results. By developing an article and posting it to the communities where customers are discussing this type of issue, Support can help dozens or even hundreds of customers with a similar interest. Consider the impact if this approach is expanded to include many of the top issues discussed in relevant communities.
Actively participating in appropriate communities gives Support the opportunity to positively influence community sentiment. Support teams can mitigate negative sentiment stemming from service-related topics by posting answers to common problems and correcting inaccurate online information.
The social media benefit to support organizations include:
Social media enables support organizations to learn about customer needs, expectations, and perceptions beyond the reach of traditional customer feedback initiatives. For example, Support can:
- Understand what relevant topics and issues are discussed on social media sites.
- Understand community sentiment.
- Discover new topics of interest not asked in Voice of the Customer (VoC) surveys.
- Gain insights from a larger portion of the customer base.
- Identify top dissatisfiers and their root causes.
Support organizations can provide services to and gain insights from customers even if they do not request live assistance or visit self-help resources. Support can:
- Identify, interact with, and gain insights from communities of customers that are part of the active user base even if they do not request support assistance.
- Identify and develop solutions for new issues and topics of interest (e.g., “how-to”) discussed within communities of interest.
- Educate the user base about existing assisted support and self-service resources.
- Increase the rate of deflection for known issues.
The extended reach and insights gained from social media interaction provides Support organizations with the ability to favorably influence customer perceptions about products and services. Support can:
- Identify communities used to influence future purchase decisions.
- Monitor customer sentiments within targeted communities of interest.
- Address top dissatisfiers and their root causes.
- Measure support success by its ability to increase sentiment scores, drive positive reviews, and ratings.
Social media’s ability to empower consumers by giving them the voice to discuss their problems and perceptions publicly has dramatically shifted the business/customer relationship. Companies need a strategy to engage socially with customers. Service and support organizations should view social media as a platform to gain insights about the issues, questions, and perceptions customers have about their products. If you don’t have a Social Media strategy for Support, it’s time. It’s better to start small than not start at all. This perspective describes the reasons why business, and particularly service and Support organizations, must embrace a social media strategy.
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Social media has captured the attention of businesses of every kind, as well as individual lines of business. Where else can a company quickly locate current and prospective customers expressing their needs, interests, and opinions? It’s no longer a matter of preference whether you leverage social media. It’s time to embrace it, even if it is just to monitor what your customers are saying. But where to start?
Developing a social media strategy for Support does not mean that the organization will have to commit significant resources. Social media strategies can begin with a very passive approach, such as monitoring communities and learning from customer discussions. The key is to develop a strategy that makes sense based on well-defined business goals and realistic resource constraints. It’s better to start small than not start at all.
Social media strategies introduce non-conventional opportunities to deliver Support. Instead of providing direct assisted services or self-help content, Support creates an environment for others within the community to provide the expertise to help other customers. As Support develops social channels it must consider how to measure the impact of these strategies relative to their pursuit of technical support excellence.
Social media’s ability to empower consumers by giving them the voice to discuss their problems and perceptions publicly has dramatically shifted the business/customer relationship. Companies need a strategy to engage socially with customers. Service and support organizations should view social media as a platform to gain insights about the issues, questions, and perceptions customers have about their products. If you don’t have a Social Media strategy for Support, it’s time. It’s better to start small than not start at all.
More than two-thirds of customers indicate that they attempt to help themselves when they need technical assistance. A general web search (e.g. Google or Bing) is the most likely first action customers take when attempting to resolve technical support issues on their own. In general customers find good information and are reasonably satisfied with their results. This ServiceXRG study examines the expectations and perceptions of 588 individuals that use self-help resources to resolve technical support issues.