Over 1 million people view tweets about customer service every week and roughly 80% of them are negative. Additionally, 81% of shoppers conduct online research about large products and services before purchasing. What type of presence do you want to have for potential customers on social media?
Having a positive presence across the web is important to the success of your organization, but it is impossible to control every conversation that happens. This is especially true with negative comments.
67% of customers stop using a product due to a bad customer experience, but only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers even bother to say anything. While the 1 negative online review can hurt a brand’s image, the 25 other customers are hurting the bottom line directly. It is that silent majority that has given rise to customer success.
What is customer success?
Customer success is the proactive version of customer service, alleviating pain points and improving the customer experience before an issue ever arises. A strong social media success strategy not only stops negative comments before they become a thought in your customer’s mind, but also provides resources and information — which the silent majority needs to find success with your product and remain a customer.
It starts with customer onboarding
Social media is a place where people gather to connect and discuss topics important to them. Why not begin nurturing a customer relationship where online relationships thrive the most in the digital age? Start by building a social media customer success plan.
If you have a user onboarding email campaign in place, leverage your social accounts to complement and reinforce that message in a more engaging way. When a customer registers, gather his/her Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile, or other relevant social account and send a welcome message via their most active channel. This message can encompass any number of items, such as:
- A link to helpful resources like webinars, guides, your blog, or FAQs
- A question to strike up a conversation and make the customer comfortable asking for help down the road
- A customer success program you developed, sharing a landing page to register for it
- Or, keep it simple by just saying hello and that you’re excited to have them as a customer
If you have a social account that is dedicated to customer service, such as Twitter or Facebook Page, be sure your newest customers know about it. Send a quick tweet to new customers pointing them to the customer service account and reduce the number of times you need to direct them to that account later.
Instapage welcomes all new customers who provide a Twitter handle upon signing up. This allows us to open lines of communication and make the newest users feel part of the Instapage family.
Frequently asked questions and help center articles
Customer service and customer success, while not the same, share many of the same goals. For this reason, it is important that both teams are working hand in hand to alleviate some of the most common pain points of your product before they become a bigger issue. Dig into your customer service data to find the questions your customers are asking most often to develop a more impactful social media success strategy.
Many companies have an FAQ section of a website or even a help center for more in-depth issues that come up frequently. In fact, 70% of customers expect a company’s website to have a dedicated section for self-service. However, do your customers know either one exists?
If you’ve established a social onboarding routine, a follow-up message could certainly be an easy way for customers to help themselves. The fewer times your team needs to answer the same simple questions, the more time they have to devote to the larger issues.
Not ready to build out a full help center or not enough data to write FAQs?
That’s okay. Build a simple customer success landing page that welcomes users and provides them all the information necessary to reach support, find resources such as webinars or your blog, and a contact form. You can include a link to this page when you welcome new customers on LinkedIn, Twitter, or any other social site.
Educate your customers
Is your product or service in a complex industry that requires a high-level of understanding? Maybe it is a relatively new or unknown field that doesn’t have a wealth of information readily available. This is a golden opportunity to create a community of thought leadership around your industry.
Even if you’re in a very well-known and highly visible space, building a community to continue to educate the people using your solution will only elevate the entire industry. A rising tide lifts all boats, and if your company is seen as the brand doing the most to lift everyone’s boats, chances are customers are going to view your company as an authority or thought leader in your space.
Social Media Today has a LinkedIn group dedicated to educating social media managers and marketers on social media trends, best practices, and latest news. Although they occasionally post self-serving information, the group is named after its site, making the direct connection between being an authority on social media trends and the company’s brand.
Vega created a customer education program, Thrive Forward, to build an audience within the healthy living industry. This program generated a wealth of content from users that was shared on social to engage new customers and eventually created a community of brand advocates.
If you don’t have the resources or time to devote to building a full community, you can still provide valuable content and share it regularly with customers. A service such as Edgar can post your evergreen content repeatedly to continually reach customers and prospects through social channels. The more educated customers are on your product and industry the less they will become frustrated and abandon your company.
Hear your customers with social listening
How are customers talking about your product or brand with their friends and social connections? What they say about your company can impact the reputation, and ultimately, the bottom line of your company.
It’s important to know what people are saying not only so you can solve any issues, but also discover unknown problems which customers might not be bringing to you. This will give your business an opportunity to provide a better customer experience.
There are plenty of tools to help you monitor your brand, product, and solution mentions online. Mention, Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and many other software companies can help you monitor what people are saying about your brand across the web. Something as simple as having a private Twitter list with customers can go a long way. It is important that you listen to understand what related pain points they experience most often and offer solutions to these customers. This can be used to understand what resources you should be sharing more often and gives you an opportunity to reach out to customers to offer solutions to their problems.
At Instapage we have Twitter lists with customers, partners, and influential members of the marketing community. We use Tweetdeck to listen to their needs and wants to better understand pain points. This helps shape the type of content that will be shared to Twitter to provide more value.
Be careful to not cross over into soliciting when you’re the one initiating contact. Customers can be turned off if they feel your brand is eavesdropping into a conversation in which they didn’t directly tag your company. However, solutions are almost always welcome as long as they are genuine and useful.
Much of this information can also help inform your team on new features or solutions for your product. Eliminating a pain-point before it can cause another issue is the best form of customer success.
Use hero GIFs
GIFs are an excellent visual way to help customers learn more about your product without being too formal or stuffy. They are also an increasingly popular tool in a successful social media manager’s tool belt.
GIFs can be used to create short screen recordings of your product in action where issues commonly arise, time-lapse how to assemble a physical product, or a getting started GIF, so customers can begin using your product with ease.
What makes GIFS particularly useful is that they are easier to share and more digestible than a longer how-to video – but still provide a visual element for users to follow along. Plus, it’s often easier to visually show a customer how to solve a problem rather than explain it via text in a series of emails or messages. These GIFs can be posted to Giphy account, used within a Help Center article, and shared on social. Another best practice is to periodically repost them so that new and old customers alike can find new ways of using your offering.
Want to make it more fun and unique? Create GIFs with team members offering common gestures like a thumbs up or high five to send to customers when they do something positive. This provides a fun way to relate to customers and adds a personal touch with members of your team involved. It’s good to remind customers that your company isn’t just a faceless logo, but an organization made up of hard working individuals.
Showcase your customers
Do you have customers that truly get the most out of your product? Your super-users are not only great brand advocates, but they are your best ticket to showing other customers how to maximize their ROI from your product.
Write customer success stories and share them to your social networks. Create Pinterest boards that showcase the best examples. Have a “Customer of the Week” on Facebook to encourage sharing and reach a wider audience.
Zappos, for instance, takes images of customers with their Zappos box and creates a “Fan of the Week” to display on Facebook. Showcasing customers helps your customers feel appreciated, creating loyalty while also serving as examples for other customers to find success for themselves.
The more you showcase customers, the more they will engage with your brand. And, the more other customers learn from these super-users, the less they will need to rely on customer service to realize the potential of your business.
Get chatty with chatbots
As more chatbots come online, more businesses are recognizing the potential of letting bots answer simple questions and requests. This is great for taking some of the burden off of your support team, but you can go a step further and be proactive with your bots. Tools such as Chatcast allow you to build a subscriber list and send helpful customer success resources to both customer and prospects alike.
Control the channels
One of the biggest advantages of being proactive with customer success is that you can dictate when and where the conversations happen. Reach out to customers on the social channel that makes the most sense for your business. Customer service requests will still happen across social, but by getting ahead of them, you reduce the burden on your service team.
You can also help drive more customers to dedicated customer success landing pages that fit your messaging and alleviate problems that customers often aren’t able to articulate.
Make sure you know which channels you want customers to communicate with your brand. By being the one who initiates the conversation, you now set the expectation of what channels are best for reaching your company.
Create customer success with social media
Now it’s your turn. Start by identifying the biggest bottlenecks and pain points for customers and develop a customer success strategy to break through them.
Social media is a less intimidating forum where you can reach customers and help them before the issues arise. There is a myriad of ways to incorporate social media into your customer success plan. Additionally, by developing dedicated landing pages for customer success, you can lead customers to higher ROI, creating a new legion of power users and loyal brand advocates.