Lauren Marinigh

Social Media as the New Call Centre

By Lauren | August 22, 2016 | 0 Comment

Social media is the current and future of customer service. Gone are the days of people wanting to sit on the phone listening to pre-recordings after pre-recordings and waiting hours before they even get on the phone with a real person. Okay, those days aren’t completely gone, but customers are expecting a lot more now than ever before.

An estimated 67% of consumers now tap into networks like Twitter or Facebook for customer support, and 33% of consumers actually prefer to contact brands using social versus the telephone. Let’s be honest, who actually likes talking on the phone with strangers? But the issue with these changes in the way consumers seek service is that companies are still trying to adapt and some are moving slower than others.

The reason our expectations of customer service have shifted is because there are some kick-ass brands out there doing an amazing job at offering customer service from every which angle. When I can send a quick tweet to say for example, Hootsuite Support, and get a response within 30-60 minutes versus having to sit on the phone for hours, or fill out a lengthy online ticket (ain’t nobody got time for that) before I can speak to someone, that’s changing my expectations for others.

But you still see huge brands out there who are choosing not to adapt to the social media evolution (if you can even call it an evolution anymore, I’m pretty sure it evolved, and it evolved years ago). Apple for example didn’t have a support account on Twitter until June 2015. I as a consumer expect that big brands are reachable on social media platforms. I expect they’re easy to find, quick to respond, and can help me when I’m having issues. And for small brands, this is a huge opportunity for them to stand out, because not everyone has really mastered the social media game yet.

So you can be bitter, and you can refuse to innovate and change your old school ways, but whether or not you’re active online, people will still talk. 50% of consumers head to social media to get a response from a company about an issue. What if they can’t find you? And lets not just focus on the negative, 48% of consumers head to social media to share a good experience they’ve had with a brand. Don’t you want to thank them? Don’t you want to engage with these customers and make them feel special? Make them want to keep coming back? If you don’t, your competitors will.

It can be hard to change the way you do business, especially if you’ve worked so hard to get your business to where it is now, only for it to have to change again. But in 2016, you have to adapt to survive, and you have to realize that with each new generation, behaviours are going to change. Only four years ago I was in business school for marketing and social media wasn’t even part of the curriculum yet. No one imagined how it would take off for business and now I have a full-time job working as a social media professional. My whole organization has shifted our main focus of all our marketing initiatives to being on social, and be hardly even were active on it when I started two years ago. It’s now all about social.

But where do you start if you’re a traditional, or non-social organization? Is it too late? Here are some takeaways:

  1. Build a strategy, and don’t just think about what you’ll be posting on which channels, think about how you will be responding to those seeking support and answers.
  2. Engage your employees and use them as brand advocates. If they don’t believe in social media it’ll be hard to make that shift into being a more innovative business.
  3. Create external and internal policies around what the expectations are from internal staff and one on what customers should expect.
  4. Assign who will be in charge of your social media presence, especially if you don’t have a designated social media person on your team.
  5. Remember that it won’t happen overnight. Building an online community and a place that people feel welcome to come only comes with hard work and consistency.


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