Is Big Data Important In Your Social Media Customer Service Strategy?

Big data can make a major impact on your social media customer service strategy. Here's why it's important and what to know about it.

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June 4, 2019
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Big data is frequently used to enhance social media marketing campaigns. However, data analytics can be just as important for customer retention.

Social media has been central to customer service strategies for the past few years. However, some brands are taking a shot in the dark with it. They have found that more effective data analytics technology has made it easier for them to optimize customer service processes through social media.

Key Principles to Using Big Data in Your Customer Service Strategy

If you’ve ever waited in line for an hour at a store’s customer service desk or called a tech support helpline only to be put on hold endlessly, you understand the appeal of using social media to bypass these obstacles. More and more consumers are using Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to reach out to their favorite brands and express both their appreciation and their dissatisfaction. However, not all businesses give the necessary attention to providing high-quality customer service through these channels.

Big data makes it a lot easier to track performance. Here are three tips for using big data to keep your customers happy through social media.

1. Know how frequently to respond.

Timing is essential with customer service. You need to know when to respond quickly. Big data helps you track the reception of your responses, so you can time them better.

According to research by Jay Baer, 32 percent of customers expect a response to social media inquiries within 30 minutes, and another 42 percent expect a response within the hour. Furthermore, 57 percent of customers expect the same response time on nights and weekends as they do during normal business hours.

Providing 24/7 customer service requires more staffing and resources than many budgets allow. Even if you have a full-time social media manager, you’ll likely need additional personnel to reply to customer comments. If you can’t hire more customer service representatives, however, you can still reduce the time and effort required for other tasks.

One way to free up time for customer service is to automate as many other social media activities as possible. With management tools like Buffer and Iconosquare, you can schedule your posts ahead of time, analyze your reach, and monitor your competitors’ accounts. You might also outsource some activities. Services like Hashtagsforlikes grow your following by targeting accounts and liking posts on your behalf, which means you have more time to focus on engagement that requires your personal attention.

2. Reply to everyone equally.

Content Standard reports that after a poor customer experience, 52 percent of customers will tell friends and family about the incident, and 56 percent of customers never do business with the company again. When a customer posts a negative review or complaint on social media, however, the damage is more extensive.

There’s no limit to how many followers will see and share it. Even if most of your customers don’t have any particular complaints about your products, they’ll be watching how you handle negative feedback from others and will judge your companies’ character and ethics based on your responses.

The worst thing you can do, therefore, is to ignore negative comments or only reply sporadically. If you only respond when you’re not terribly busy, the customers whose comments fall through the cracks will feel they’ve been treated unfairly. You need a company-wide policy, so all employees who handle customer service abide by the same standards at all times.

Set clear guidelines about which issues to address publicly in the comments and which to handle privately. On Twitter, for example, you might not be able to acknowledge a customer service issue, thank the customer for bringing it to your attention, and then resolve it in 280 characters. A better approach would be to acknowledge, thank, and provide a link where the customer can send a direct message, so you can chat without character restrictions.

Don’t make the mistake of only responding to negative feedback. Acknowledge every post, review, or check-in to let followers know their feedback is appreciated. Comments on your official social media channels are only part of the activity you need to monitor. Social listening tools like Brand 24, Mention, or Awario allow you to track any mentions of your brand or related keywords even if the post doesn’t include hashtags.

For example, if a social media user mentions she is going to your store to look for a particular item, you might reply to let her know which model you suggest or which brand is currently on sale. She might be pleasantly surprised to receive such good customer service before she even walked in the door.

So how does big data come into play here? New analytics platforms makes it easier for you to make sure that you aren’t going to be losing track of anyone.

3. Stay on message.

The way you handle customer service issues needs to reflect your overall brand identity. If your brand is known for being friendly and accessible, a snarky reply to a bad review will alienate your customers. By the same token, if your company has a reputation for edgy, an overly formal interaction on social media will fall flat.

Some brands excel at putting a unique spin on otherwise mundane customer service tasks. Spotify, for example, maintains its musical vibe on its tech support account by providing a customized soundtrack for each comment thread based on the content; for example, a reply saying “If you need any more help, just shout,” includes a link to “Shout” by Tears For Fears.

Wendy’s social media persona has become just as much a trademark as the Baconator or the Frosty. The company excels at witty comebacks to social media slams. It recognizes the difference between legitimate customer complaints and trolling by fans of its fast-food competitors. Wendy’s one-liners reveal that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

This is where big data can be best. You can use KPIs to track the relevance of your responses.

Big Data is the Key to Getting the Most of Your Customer Service Strategy

How does your business handle customer service on social media? Share your thoughts in the comments.