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Customer care is a huge area of differentiation for brands fighting for a foothold in the customer experience landscape. So how do you compete effectively?

Your success depends on customer satisfaction

First, let’s recap the importance of customer care to brand health.

Before the existence of social media, the odd customer service issue was a minor wrinkle. Word of mouth might cost you a few customers, but if you pleased more consumers than not, you’d be just fine.

Now the tiniest problem can become a viral nuisance within hours if not managed properly. Even worse, any crack in your armor gives competitors the opportunity to swoop in and steal your customers.

You can’t avoid occasional slip-ups, so what’s the solution? You have to become an expert at spotting trouble in the early stages – and at leveling up the customer care offered by your competition. In short, social customer care is the “new marketing.”

Social listening arms you to excel at it.

Listening to establish a baseline

You can’t do better than other brands without first knowing what they’re doing. This is part of listening to your audience. After all, your competitors’ customers are simply customers you haven’t convinced – yet.

What do they want? What are they missing out on? These are the insights you want, and they’re all right there on social media, waiting to be discovered. But too many brands are still fumbling the ball with regard to social customer care.

Here are two sobering stats: 72% of complainants on Twitter expect a response within an hour – but 70% of Twitter complaints go unanswered.

This is a major disconnect – and one that gives brands that do provide social customer service an edge. To be one of them, just pay attention when other brands don’t respond. This alone impresses frustrated consumers looking for empathy and solutions.

And what about the brands that do respond in a timely fashion? You still want to know how they’re responding – and how their customers feel about their resolutions. Because it’s not about simply offering customer care on social – it’s about raising the bar to a place where other brands can’t touch you.

And that’s where sentiment becomes your best informant.

How do you like me now?

Beating competitors isn’t as simple as offering social customer service where your competitors offer none. Meeting a basic expectation isn’t worthy of consumer loyalty.

Instead you’ve got to do better at anything your competitors’ customers love them for. And solve the problems they hate. To that end, use your social listening and sentiment analysis tools to find segments of consumers with common gripes – and create a customer care experience that offers the perfect fix.

But don’t just focus on negativity. Finding clusters of consumers who love something your competitors offer is just as useful – if not more so. Create services that answer the specific desires of each segment in your audience, and you’ll inspire their devotion to your brand above all others.

What does that look like? Maybe an app that puts them in direct contact with a customer care representative when they have an issue. Or maybe some type of reward when they offer constructive feedback about your brand, or step in to help another customer on your behalf.

There’s no rulebook here – except to let consumer sentiment be your inspiration. Whatever you do has to speak to the values your audience cares about most. That will put you leagues ahead of the competition every time – which is exactly where you want to be.

Have you seen our social listening tools in action? Reach out and we’ll show you how to master social customer care!

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