Pictured: (Left: Estelle Wienk, Right: Zoé Peri)
By now, nearly all brands are interacting with customers on social media. The question is not if your brand is leveraging social, but how are you performing? How does your social strategy compare against key competitors? Is your current social media setup actually damaging the customer experience? To stand out in today’s competitive landscape, the customer experience has become a key differentiator. But how do you know what to focus on?
While the success of your social media presence is often measured in marketing terms like engagement and reach, the impact of social media interactions on the customer experience is often overlooked. The effectiveness of your social strategy goes far beyond how many likes or comments your posts receive. You must dive deeper into customer behavior on social media and understand the customer journey at each touch point with your social channels.
Social media benchmarking is a useful tool for shaping your digital strategy, providing insights on the current state of your brand’s social presence in core markets and identifying areas where your organization lags behind industry standards. This digital analysis helps you to precisely define the potential of your social networks to identify how social can add value and empower your overall customer service strategy. When benchmarking, consider: what are your strengths on social media? Where is the competition outperforming you? Are there opportunities for differentiation?
Below are four performance indicators to benchmark when examining how social media is impacting the customer experience:
#1: Support Availability
Social media support is about correctly managing customer expectations. Are customers more likely to receive support on a specific social media account? When is your brand online? Can customers reach your organization on social in the evenings and on weekends? For example, tourism and leisure brands need to be available on the weekends, especially on digital channels since customers are travelling.
63% of customers expect companies to offer customer service on social media. Furthermore, customer service inquiries are not just limited to messages sent directly to brand accounts. While 37% of all tweets are customer service-related, only 3% of these tweets tag the brand’s handle. To offer full support, you must go beyond monitoring only your social accounts for inquiries. Look for opportunities to respond to conversations about your products or services by using social media listening technology.
Providing proactive support on social media goes a long way toward delivering a positive customer experience, and a dedicated social media team trained in business development can turn social conversations into potential leads. For example, a global connected home technology provider implemented proactive support and saw three times growth in conversations about the brand as well as social media users.
In today’s demanding environment, speed is of the essence on social media. Of all the incoming messages, how many customers receive a response? Are you actively responding to messages on all of your social channels? Do you have unanswered reviews? What is your average response time?
When contacting brands on social media, 32% of people expect a response in 30 minutes and 42% expect a reply within an hour. Still, many brands take hours or even days to respond. Meeting consumer expectations is critical, as 61% of people have stopped doing business with a brand because of a poor digital customer experience. With a greater focus on responsiveness, a leading automotive brand was able to cut response times down from two hours to just 17 minutes.
#3: Issue Management
This metric looks at how well your brand responds to complaints on social media. Is your organization successfully communicating a willingness to help on social media? Does your company take ownership of the issue? How does your team respond to a PR crisis?
Globally, 59% of people view brands more favorably that respond to customer service questions or complaints on social media. Showing a willingness to help also means that you are not afraid to publicly solve an issue for the rest of your customers to see, but at the same time offer the possibility to resolve complaints in a private message.
Since 43% of consumers rank getting issues resolved in a single interaction as the most important aspect of good digital customer experience, make sure to empower your social team to be able to resolve an issue without being too dependent on other departments.
Be prepared for a potential PR crisis like a product recall by creating a crisis communications plan and coordinating with your company’s PR and communications teams. Tailor a public statement for each social channel and have a list of Q&As that the social team can leverage to answer questions. Mismanagement of a PR crisis can have a real and deep impact on a business, like when United Airlines saw their stock fall as the result of social media outrage about a passenger’s removal from a flight.
Social media is a conversational platform that requires human interpretation and empathy. Is your brand using the right tone of voice? Are you creating a personal connection through your responses? Are you using an authentic, relatable brand voice?
To truly win over customers, engagement on social media should stimulate interaction. A personalized, authentic response improves the experience, customer satisfaction and your brand image, whereas generic, standardized responses and support can lead to customer-side frustration. Striking the right, harmonized tone across social channels is imperative.
High-quality, personalized customer service can serve as a powerful marketing tool for your business. Consumers are inclined to share details about positive experiences on social media, which contributes positively to your brand awareness and reputation. For example, a telecommunication company proactively tapped into conversations and boosted brand awareness at a rate equivalent to spending more than $5,000 on an ad campaign.
Social media benchmarking not only serves as a powerful means to measure performance, it also delivers valuable insights into what customers are talking about and areas for your brand to improve.
Benchmarking is useful for determining if programs or products are having the desired effect in the marketplace. For example, comments from customers are useful for the product and research development teams to optimize products or services to drive a better user experience. While social media is primarily the focus of marketing and customer service teams, benchmarking applies to the entire organization, including the C-suite, as it can reveal whether your social strategy is positively impacting overall business outcomes.
Estelle Wienk is a Global Social Media Consultant at Majorel. She has 10 years of experience in social media management, driving new business in the digital space by helping to establish a successful social media solution portfolio within Majorel globally. She is responsible for designing social media solutions for Majorel’s global clients to help them to transform into true social brands, positively impacting customer experience and differentiating from competitors. Zoé Peri is a Social Media Solutions Manager at Majorel, serving customers across the world in 36 languages through 48,000 employees based in 28 countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Americas and Asia. She oversees the development and delivery of social media solutions for clients and evaluates brands’ assets and needs on digital channels to define the appropriate social media customer experience to support customers at any time, through every device and in the manner they expect from the brand.