Thursday, January 28, 2016

Using Social Media to Enhance Customer Experiences

By Shawn Szurley

Content Marketing Manager

Effective customer service encompasses the age old idiom of being in the right place at the right time. But what if your customers expect you to be everywhere at all times? The fact of the matter is that as customers become more and more demanding, they expect more from the brands they are reaching out to on social media.

So the truth is out. Customer success teams need to be everywhere at all times. Scary? No way. We have outlined some key ways to most effectively use social media to enhance your customer service strategy instead of hindering it.


65% of customers prefer to contact companies on social media rather than a call center. - Pew Internet Research

60% of companies don’t respond to customers via social media...even when asked a direct questions.” - A T Kearney

More and more customers are turning to social media when they have questions, comments or concerns. Emails take to long to go back and forth in communication and there are few things worse that being put on hold when you contact customer service.

It should be obvious that social media is no longer just an option for companies. Your customers are there waiting for a response and if you can’t meet them there, they will mostly likely go somewhere else.

If you want to keep your customers happy and more importantly keep them as customers it is essential to meet them where they are. Don’t make them jump through fire just to ask a question.

A great example is mobile apps. You are in a brand’s app and for some reason, things aren’t working. You go to the help page and the only option is to either call or email. There you are in the app but there’s no option to get help within that app. You have to close out and then either call or email. It’s not a seamless experience, it’s frustrating and is a time suck.

Be there when your customers need you and have the ability to solve their questions as quickly as possible. This leads us to the next tip. It’s great if you are on social but if you don’t have a customer care team that has the resources they need to answer questions, you are still leaving your customers waiting.


Once your customer service team is in place, you need to make sure that they have the knowledge and software necessary to solve whatever issue they are given. We have all had an experience where this hasn’t been the case. Say you call your bank. You tell the agent on the phone your whole saga only to be told that they actually aren’t able to solve your problem and will need to transfer you to someone else. Who you then have to re-tell your saga...

Frustrating customer service at its finest. When outlining your strategy in order to provide the best customer experience your agents should be given the authority to resolve an issue. Create guidelines and limits for your agents. Whether it’s shipping out a new pair of sneakers, refunding a flight or initiating reimbursement, determine what your limits are and enable your agents to make the call on your behalf.

We are making progress. You are on social, you’ve hired a great customer success team and you are doing such a great job that now social media is the main point of contact for customer service. While using native technology may have worked when you had one person responding to customers, as you grow using native technology can get messy (and slow)!


As your team scales, it’s essential to use a s solution that is purpose-built for customer service to ensure that each and every inquiry is responded to, and fast.

52% of consumers using Twitter expect a company to respond in 2 hours or less.” - Consumer Views of Live Help Online 2012: A Global Perspective.

Customer service solutions also allow for certain conversations to be routed to specific customer success agents who specialize in a certain department. Have a question about a bag you lost in Spain after your flight? That goes to Josh because he’s an expert in baggage claim and is fluent in Spanish. Having solutions automate these things makes sure that your agents can be as efficient as possible and that they can become experts in their field and be empowered to make the best decision on how to solve the problem.


Once you have the right technology in place everything can run smoothly. When there is less manual busy work a.k.a. routing and tagging conversations yourself, your  empowered agents have more time to make each conversation personal.

70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated - McKinsey

To create the best customer experience possible, a little goes a long way. Imagine you reach out to your favorite clothing store to ask if you can expedite the delivery of a dress so that you’ll have it for your date on Friday. The customer success agent responds quickly, and says that he can definitely get you your dress and that he will even send you two sizes so that if one doesn’t fit, you’ll have a backup. That’s great customer service!

But now imagine this -- on Monday the same agent tweets back at you asking how your date went. Now that’s an excellent customer experience. Even if it wasn’t the best date you’ve ever been on, knowing that you weren’t just another issue resolved but are a valued customer, is a good feeling.

Chances are next time you have something important going on or just in need of a shopping spree, you’ll head back to that brand. It’s all about creating customer loyalty so they keep coming back for more. The truth is simple, the more valued you make your customer feel, the more likely they are to purchase with you again.


Social media is not something to be afraid of. It’s no longer a foreign concept that we can say is just a phase. It is here to stay and if you want your company to be as successful as possible, from marketing to engineering, and customer success to sales, everyone at your company benefits when you provide a great customer experience.


In an era of empowered, hyper-connected customers, Sparkcentral is the only CRM platform for enterprises that unifies social, mobile, cloud and contextual data to pro-actively deliver personalized and engaging customer experiences. Customer service teams use our software to efficiently handle large amounts of customer inquiries in a fast and structured manner.

Sparkcentral’s client roster includes Delta Air Lines, Netflix, Discover Financial, Uber, Western Union and T-Mobile. For more information, visit


Sophie Vu, Vice President, Marketing, Sparkcentral will be moderating a Fireside Chat on Personalizing Customer Engagement on Mobile at our 12th Annual Customer Contact 2016, East: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange. Click here to register or learn more:

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