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Customer service used to be sitting on hold for 2 hours before finally talking to a human being who could maybe, sort of, if the moon was full, help you out with your problem. However, with the rise of the internet, instantaneous responses have become routine and often expected.
Human beings have limited attention spans. In fact, when it comes to marketing efforts, the average Millenial has only a 5 to 6 second attention span. Don’t agree? Well how many times have you tuned out those game ads on your free apps?
Millennials may seem like an exception, but—even with all the guff we give them—Millennials are reaching the age where they are becoming the dominant target market. This means that if you want to make your brand stick, consumer engagement is more important than ever before.
The first step to creating a rock-solid customer service system is through online visibility. A website is only the beginning.
Social media engagement is huge. It is basically a free 24-7 networking platform which allows you to interact with consumers all over the globe. This means that your brand needs to have incredible visibility.
Brands like Dove, Starbucks and even Netflix have thriving social media sites which are specifically tailored to cater to their target demographic.
Starbucks is known for advertising in short, quipped facebook statuses which make consumers think about how good a pumpkin spice latte would be at this precise moment.
Netflix uses their database to reference hundreds of thousands of movies and quotes.
This niche-specific posting creates visibility for these brands. This visibility is the reason these brands became famous to begin with.
Connecting with Customers in Real Time
The second step to creating visibility is through consistent interaction.
Customer service used to be all about the phone call. While consumers still reach out to companies through traditional means, real time consumer interaction over social media is important for two reasons:
Many customers will seek customer support on a company’s Facebook page. There could be many reasons for them reaching out in this fashion. Perhaps they are in a crowded place, they do not have time to wait on hold, or maybe the caller has social anxiety and it is simply easier for them to interact over text.
Whatever the motivation, the consumer still needs real time interaction with their customer service representative.
If a consumer has a more general question, social media can also be programmed to redirect commenters to a chatbot service. This messenger bot service is specifically designed to take consumers through simple questions about their issues and provide more information.
Chatbots can be programmed to guide consumers through the purchasing process right then and there. However, if the chatbot is unable to provide an instant answer, data can be collected and a customer service representative can reach out at a later time—through a message or a call.
Outside of the Box
Social media is also an incredible tool for sharing news and making announcements. One of the most common ways that social media makes changes for their consumers is through the method of content creation. Content creation implies a corporation looking beyond their standard field of expertise—which is business—and seeking to become a learner like their consumers.
Content creation allows corporations creativity to try and learn new things. Many companies take to writing blogs about topics on the rim of their niche. This allows them to branch out to larger audiences while still staying in the realm of interest for their target market.
This kind of content creation is only possible through having an active social media presence. Personalization of this content is huge. While a corporation cannot make every blog post say, “Hello Karen,” or, “Hello Suzy,” or, “Hello Insert-Your-Name-Here,” they are able to quietly poll their audience through their social media.
This can be through trial and error—trying out more informal posts like memes or linking to someone else’s material—to test the waters. However, the best way to determine what other topics will interest your niche as a whole is through the use of big data. By collecting data which naturally comes as a result of consumer interaction, you are able to pinpoint your consumers’ hobbies, interests, and work preferences to create truly dynamic content.
Take MintLife for example. Just thinking about finance gives most of us goosebumps. They, however, mix that with the stuff that actually interests us like how to travel or dine on a budget. There are plenty of personal finance blogs in the world wide web and they’ll always be competing against them, but turning a serious topic into something –that’s actually fun and engaging to read about most brands, regardless of their niche, usually can’t brag about. So, don’t take everything too seriously. If we teach our kids through play, why shouldn’t we do the same?
Social media allows for total business transparency, which is a huge must in customer service these days. Consumers like to know the story behind their products. Whether the company partners with a charity or employs hefty green policies, consumers want to know this—and they want a forum for their opinions to be heard.
Social media reviews and comments are super effective methods for consumers to interact with their favorite—or not-so-favorite—businesses. This feedback is extremely important to heed. It is basically free data.
Some companies make the mistake of only receiving the good reviews with open arms. But Nike takes a different approach.
Nike addresses customer concerns—be they about products, company policies, or anything in between—with unending patience. They answer consumer questions and work to alleviate bad consumer experiences by explaining the reasoning behind their methods. Obviously, there is a limit to how many times Nike can explain itself, yet they seem to push that limit every day and it results in great customer conversion.
Overall, social media’s changes to customer service have drastically impacted the way people perceive having quality service. No longer is it acceptable to wait hours on end on the phone for a mysterious voice to hopefully answer your question. Therefore, businesses need to be on the ball with their social media presence, visibility, and technology to keep up with a Millennials’ advertisement tolerance.