Financial marketer's guide to social customer service

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Service with a digital smile
By Ale MIddleton, staffer. 27 September, 2018
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“In today’s world, meaningful differences between businesses are rarely rooted in price or product, but instead in customer experience,” Jay Baer tells us in his book Hug Your Haters. And the research supports this theory, with the Conversocial Social Effort Study finding customer service interaction is the reason 67.8% of respondents would engage with a brand again.

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In 2018, customer service is not simply about answering the phone or an email complaint. In fact, it’s not even about monitoring comments on social media, customers are now preferring to turn to social messaging to get in front of a brand. According to the Conversocial study, 50.3% of respondents prefer to interact with brands via private message compared to 39.3% mentioning a brand in a public post and 38.7% posting directly to a brand’s public page.

A study by Facebook went on to find that 56% of people would rather message than call a business for customer service, 61% like receiving personalised messages from businesses, and 50%+ prefer to engage with a business they can message.

With social customer service clearly critical for businesses, we’re taking a look at 5 best practice tips for positive outcomes when it comes to financial brands.

1. Respond to all comments

We all know the saying “Ignore it and it will go away”, but unfortunately when it comes to social customer service this is not the case. In fact, it’s the worst thing you can do. To take another quote from our wise guru Baer: “If you answer complaints anywhere, it increases customer advocacy. Conversely, not answering complaints decreases customer advocacy, across all customer channels.”

Data by Sprout Social found the 30% of respondents will go to a competitor and 26% will be less likely to use a company’s product or service if ignored on social media. But on the flip side, responding to posts will see 70% more likely to use your brand’s product or service while 70%+ will share the good experience with friends on social. All comments should be acknowledged.

30% of respondents will go to a competitor and 26% will be less likely to use a company’s product or service if ignored on social media.

2. Add a human element to your customer service responses

Adding a personal touch to your response will make your business seem more human. Funnily enough, people like talking to other people as opposed to robots. It’s also best to avoid canned responses and go for an authentic touch – don’t just copy and paste common responses. One brand doing this well is Skyscanner, its personalised response to a customer complaint went viral thanks to social media manager Jen Rankine’s humorous response to a customer on how he should spend his 47-year flight connection.

3. Reply on the same channel as you were contacted

Customers don’t want to be deflected to another medium. If they contacted you via Twitter, they want an outcome via Twitter. A report by McKinsey found customers who start and end their journey on social are 15% more satisfied with their service than those deflected from social to traditional channels. People want social customer service to be effortless, with 100% of consumers considering “Ease of Use” a key aspect of good service.

4. Respond quickly

We’re living in a fast-paced world where customers want answers immediately – we’re talking minutes as opposed to hours or days. A good idea is to turn on notifications so you know as soon as you have received a message, as well as investing in software that picks up any mention of your finance brand on social media and online to ensure you are engaging straight away with any comments, positive or negative.

5. Be proactive about customer service

Currently, social customer service is very much focused on responding to complaints, more reactive than proactive. Why not use your social platforms to create a more valuable customer experience, alerting your followers prior to the media of any company news, as an example. You could even use the new Questions feature on Instagram Stories to find out from customers what it is they’re wanting more of or set up a dedicated social media handle for customer enquiries to show brand accessibility.

Finance brands serving their customers well

When it comes to financial brands mastering social servicing, three key players are the Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Mastercard.

  1. Bank of America uses a social media tracking system that sees employees responding to comments almost instantly.
  2. Mastercard has created the Conversation Suite - a web-based analytic tool supported by a global team of social experts that monitor, analyse and engage in conversations around the world, in real-time, 24/7.
  3. Wells Fargo has 8 large monitors tracking all social media avenues with approximately 12 staff overlooking posts and addressing concerns or negative comments.

Good customer service is essential to any brand big or small. Done well, it can be an incredible asset to a business. Done badly, and you can drive your customers away. Be proactive, be responsive, and be engaging to ensure your business is one customers want to return to.

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A traditionally trained journalist, Ale has spent the bulk of her career designing and executing content marketing strategies for organisations in the financial services, HR, and health and fitness industries. As well as driving strategies that deliver on business objectives, Ale can produce stand out print, digital and video content. A content marketer by day, Ale lives a decadent life as a bar and restaurant reviewer by night.