By Andrew Kokes, HGS Senior Vice President, Global Head of Marketing
This article was published in Forbes Community Voice in May.
It may be counterintuitive, but customer problems can represent a brand’s biggest opportunity.
Progressive brand managers and chief marketing officers (CMOs) understand that solving problems for customers can often be the best way to build meaningful relationships that enhance brand reputation. Nothing is more authentic than demonstrating you understand and care about your customers.
The best customer care programs are the ones that deepen relationships, identify and mitigate potential crises and enhance brand reputation.
When it comes to leveraging social customer care to a company’s advantage, even the most recognized and beloved global brands can find room for improvement. Constant evaluation of the digital and social media landscape offers opportunity to take advantage of new technologies that both enhance customer interactions and build more efficiency and speed into social care processes.
Today, many brands still manage social media manually. This leads to human error, delays in escalating potential crises and missed opportunities to surprise and delight customers. At HGS, we’ve found incredible value in coupling artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with the right workflows and processes. For example, using technology to help prioritize mentions for relevance and type of response required can help reduce the time and attention needed to determine which mentions should be escalated for individual review.
Lay the foundation First
While advanced AI, analytics and automation can improve speed and efficiency, having the right people and team managing the program ultimately makes the difference. Well-trained agents and partnerships with technology and public relations teams can ensure all aspects of a customer care strategy are being effectively delivered.
It is vitally important to work with trusted partners who can help you evolve your social customer care programs. Identify partners with deep knowledge of the right people to recruit for the job and technology vendors that bring agile AI and machine learning to the program.
Establish processes, not only for customer care but also for employee care and management to ensure quick and seamless integration. Having workflows and issue resolution best practices in place ensures best-in-class response time and personalized engagement with an authentic, one-to-one approach.
Invest in developing a robust “rules of engagement” document. Anticipate needs and issues before they happen and create a clear structure for reaction and elevation in order to tackle the large volume of brand mentions across social interactions -- both positive and negative -- in a timely and appropriate manner.
Implement AI and machine learning to filter, tag, prioritize and structure the workflow of enormous volumes of social interactions. This way, customer service issues are quickly resolved, potential issues and crises are easily identified and immediately escalated and, most importantly, joy share moments can occur with the potential to receive tons of positive reengagement.
Prioritizing Joy Share
While AI implementation may sometimes mean a smaller team, it requires higher-quality agents who are adept at creating positive customer experiences on social channels. It’s too often that negative social interactions consume the majority of marketers’ time. In reality, we should be investing as much, if not more, time and energy on positive interactions as a way to build trust, retain loyalty and position a brand for success.
Joy share refers to those social posts where consumers share positive interactions or messages from the brand they are interacting with on their own social channels. People may be inclined to share how much a brand makes their day better -- it’s the job of a stellar social customer care team to affirm and amplify this brand love. It’s a great way to optimize the value of meaningful, but limited, customer interactions. Responses should never be “salesy,” and don’t copy and paste language. Always be personal, witty, fun and creative, using customized responses when possible.
Each positive interaction with a brand is an opportunity to build positivity that overshadows any negative experiences. Take advantage of opportunities to engage with those speaking directly to your brand and to dig deeper to seek out those who are speaking about your brand -- or even deeper to reach those engaging with other brands in your marketplace.
Brands that are focused on amplifying positive brand interactions may see noticeable increases in joy share due to the strategic implementation of AI, machine learning and a highly trained team of agents focused on creating moments to surprise and delight consumers. These brands will lead the way in building customer relationships that last.