Miller Heiman Group
July 7, 2014
The field of support services is demanding, complex, and constantly changing. In technology support services, you are tasked with knowing what trends make smart investment sense, and what industry changes are short-term fads that you should not waste your resources on.
Social media is certainly not a new trend, and the wide-scale adoption by the general public indicates that communicating via social media platforms will only continue to increase. An estimated 93 percent of businesses use social media in some form for marketing, indicating that companies understand how transformative it is in communication.
Social media is prominent in marketing departments, but it’s still not a central aspect of support services, despite the fact that companies using social media report lower support costs and better customer experiences.
If your company still operates with social media confined to the silo of the marketing department, read on to see why social media belongs in technology support services, and learn how to make it work effectively for your company.
It seems like the majority of the tablet-owning, smart phone-toting population has been reprogrammed to find information almost exclusively online, air their complaints, and for those of us in support services, find answers. Here are just a few of the advantages that social media can bring to your organization:
If you are facing department cost-cutting measures, and adding social media to support services seems like just another item that you can’t afford, consider this statistic: The cost per contact in a customer support community is 90 percent lower than the cost per call in a call center. You can see how that type of savings will add up very quickly.
To make social media a channel that your customers will use and appreciate, it’s best to respond within 24 hours to customer posts. Social media lets your team be interactive with customers, in real time. Your customers will appreciate the quick interaction, so take advantage of this feature.
Social media is not just for teens and young adults. In fact, a recent study showed that the 45 – 54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google +. Additionally, spending time on social media is the most common online activity.
The takeaway? Your customers are already there, using these platforms day-in and day-out. When customers go to your website and don’t find what they’re looking for, 95 percent of themwill turn to social channels instead. If you’re not there, you can bet your competitors will be.
You may log into your Facebook account to post a status update about how delicious your morning coffee is, but don’t take the same “it’s all fun” approach when using social media in support services. Social media requires a structured approach. In particular:
The beauty of social media is that it allows you to learn so much about your customers. It’s like having access to focus group data, every day of the week. Use this aspect of social media, and empower your strategy by learning where your customers connect, the types of things they’re interested in, and what motivates them.
Do you know one of the reasons why companies such as Starbucks and McDonald’s are so popular with customers? They’re consistent. You can go into a McDonald’s in Texas and have the same experience as a McDonald’s in Seattle. Their product is consistent, their branding is consistent, and customers know what to expect when they walk through the door.
Similarly, customers want this same type of consistency when interacting with your company through social media. Your social media interactions in support services should reflect your brand. The messaging you use and the support you offer should feel familiar and consistent to customers, so whether they interact with you through Twitter or talk to someone in your call center, they’ll receive the same experience.
Support services is all about serving your customers so that they have the best possible experience with your product. Social media offers support services a responsive, interactive, and insightful way to assist your customers. Your customers win, and the lowered cost and improved customer experience your company gains means you’ll win too. If you haven’t yet adopted social media in support services, it’s time to explore this avenue; it’s not a trend that will be disappearing anytime soon.
Jodi is a Marketing and Customer Experience fanatic. Some might say "guru", but she prefers it the other way around, as there’s always something to learn and grow as it relates to Marketing and the Customer Experience, and how each is connected to one another. In the past three years, Jodi has dedicated her career to thought leadership in both realms through her work at MHI Global, and has earned honors as Top 100 Customer Success Influencer from Mindtouch, Top 15 Most Influential Customer Service Experts To Follow on Twitter from GetApp, and Top 50 Contact Center Thought Leader on Twitter from ICMI. MHI Global is a TSIA Program Alliance Partner.
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