5 Rules for Integrating Social Media in the Contact Center

The use of digital channels, particularly social media, continues to surge. Social media is a potent and highly visible way to conveniently engage with customers and prospects. According to Sprout Social, 91% of consumers believe social can connect people, and 78% want brands to use social media to bring them together.

Delivering top-notch customer service on social media can boost your brand image. And that can lead to higher revenue and overall growth for your business. In fact, 40% of consumers find the “perfect product” through an organic social post from a brand, reports Sprout Social. Thirty-four percent research on social media and another 34% find a product after seeing a friend’s post.

And consumers aren’t just turning to social media for recommendations and reviews before making a purchase. In the Accenture report “The future of shopping and social commerce,” 59% of social buyers say they’re more likely to purchase from a small business when shopping through social commerce versus standard online shopping via a company’s website. And 44% are more likely to buy a brand they haven’t encountered before.

To stay competitive, it’s important to thoughtfully incorporate social media tactics into your customer experience (CX) strategy. And that means more than just a cleverly placed hashtag. Follow these five basic rules for integrating social media in the contact center to improve CX and build brand loyalty.

Rule 1. Get with the Network

Customers today want to engage with you on their preferred channels, including their favorite social media platforms — whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or Snapchat. So, it’s imperative to monitor, capture and leverage social media as a support touchpoint.

And certain demographics prefer certain channels. While Generation Z and millennial consumers might prefer to use Snapchat or YouTube to learn about your brand, Gen Xers and baby boomers might turn to Facebook and Instagram. Knowing where your customers are — and responding to customers on those platforms — shows you know them, understand their needs and wants, and take them seriously.

This humanizes your company, makes you feel approachable and trustworthy – and personalizes the experience. In fact, according to the “The State of Customer Experience” report, more than 80% of consumers say they’d purchase additional items from companies that consistently personalize the customer service experience. And 56% of consumers would pay a higher price.

Rule 2. Consistently Monitor Your Social Media Sites

Nearly two-thirds of consumers surveyed for “The connected customer experience” report say a company is only as good as its customer service. So, it’s vital to respond efficiently and effectively to customer concerns.

To do this, you need to keep a watchful eye on your company’s social media activity. Closely monitor how people are talking about your brand on social channels. And take note of both the positive and negative feedback.

With an all-in-one CX platform that integrates social media channels into a contact center agent’s desktop, employees have that single view into customer interactions on social channels. And using software that prioritizes interactions with sentiment analysis means urgent issues are escalated so agents can act and quickly resolve them.

Rule 3. Respond ASAP

Customers value quick responses and often turn to social media to address an issue, whether that means expressing their satisfaction or raising a concern. McKinsey & Company reports that 79% of consumers who engage with brands on social channels expect a response in the first 24 hours. However, only about of companies meet those expectations.

And hesitating can cost you. One Sprout Social report shows that 36% of consumers will share the negative experience with their friends and family. Thirty-one percent won’t complete their purchase if a comment is left unanswered; 30% say they’ll buy from a competitor instead.

While creating canned responses for initial customer messages ensures you address comments quickly, it doesn’t feel personal. Make it a rule to respond with personalized comments for certain high-touch issues, such as an unhappy customer or very specific question.

Responsive tools integrated into your customer experience platform, such as skills-based routing that matches visitors with the best resource, ensure each interaction quickly goes to the right agent and can be personalized to match the customer or prospect.

Social media moves fast; providing prompt and effective customer service creates a positive experience that strengthens relationships.

Rule 4. Get in Their DMs

Not every customer concern can be addressed through social media comments. When possible, escalate complex or sensitive interactions either into direct messaging channels on social media, such as Instragram direct messages (DMs), or off a social media channel completely for a personalized interaction.

Doing so keeps the conversation going and keeps you engaged with the customer or prospect while minimizing frustration and quickly resolving any issues. Always encourage customers or prospects to contact you directly — and provide an easy way for them to do so, whether that includes direct messages on the social channel, email or phone.

Rule 5. Establish Your Social Media Brand Voice and Guidelines

Establishing and maintaining a social media brand voice helps you build a unique and consistent identity that differentiates your company from competitors. Having an engaging brand voice sets expectations for customer engagement. And that consistency can be a first step toward customer loyalty and brand ambassadorship.

Additionally, a clear and consistent brand voice helps you more easily and effectively manage your online reputation and respond to potential crises. It’s important to set guidelines about how and when customer service agents should respond to different types of social media interactions. Be sure agents are consistent and professional to mitigate risks, such as negative publicity or a damaged reputation.

Guidelines also provide a framework for decision-making, enabling quick and effective responses to both positive and negative feedback. Having a knowledge base of approved social responses for various scenarios equips your agents with the tools to succeed.

Contact Center Software That Meets Your Social Media Needs

Having an effective omnichannel customer service strategy that includes social media channels creates a personalized experience across multiple touchpoints. And that increases the reach and impact of your service and support efforts.

Customers expect seamless, responsive and orchestrated experiences. An all-in-one cloud-based contact center platform integrates social media with existing customer support channels to streamline workflows and improve the consistency and efficiency of customer interactions.

The result is more personalized experiences, faster response times, lowers costs and, ultimately, more loyal and engaged customers. Learn more about how to integrate social media into your customer experience strategy.