How to use social media channels to improve customer retention

30 October 2017 by Anita Matthews

Engage with customers on social channels to improve retention

As consumers move to digital communication they are giving brands an extra layer of insight to capture high level trends and individual reasons why customers defect. Few companies can afford to ignore this valuable information.

Increasingly, businesses are moving beyond voice and text to assimilate data from wider contact points, including social channels, messaging apps and live chat to create a fuller picture. This is a powerful tactic to win the customer retention game.

For industries with high churn rates and a whole heap of unhappy customers, businesses also need to be equipped for the short term. Consumers head to social channels in their droves to let businesses know when things go wrong and to get problems fixed. Reacting in real time to customer complaints on social could help to change the minds of those who want to leave. Right here. Right now.

When it comes to customer defection, recent research from Ofcom discovered that although price was the number one reason for customers switching providers, poor handling of complaints came second. There's no doubt that poor customer experience can be a trigger. So, let’s take a look at how interventions via social media could help to persuade customers to stay.

Missed opportunities to intervene

While your customer service team no doubt works hard to respond to customers who are talking about leaving, are there gaps in the service you are providing on social channels? A missed complaint is a missed opportunity to resolve the issue and hopefully repair relationships and change minds. How can you make sure agents can get to all mentions and make sure no message is left unanswered?

  • Use a dedicated social customer service app like Sentiment, with a unified inbox so your agents see all your incoming messages in one place. This ensures nothing is missed during busy periods.
  • If your social customer service app has automations, consider setting keyword triggers to route priority mentions to agents, so they can to get back to customers quickly.
  • Use last agent routing functionality to ensure a message gets assigned back to the agent who last dealt with it. This means they can quickly pick up the thread and resolve it.

There are lots of variables which influence decisions to change service providers. But, if your customers have sent a tweet to say they want to leave, being able to quickly get back to those who need an urgent reply will go a long way in trying to fix the relationship.

Measure service quality

It’s notoriously difficult to get customers to give feedback about their customer service experience especially when it starts with a complaint. Phone surveys often have low completion rates, making it hard for your team to get a handle on satisfaction levels. Twitter Customer Feedback enables customer service teams to use instant, short social satisfaction surveys. This mechanism provides instant feedback and the random selection method means agents can’t cherry pick and only send to those they feel are going to rate their interaction highly.

Enable personalised conversations

Social messaging apps like Whatsapp, WeChat or Facebook Messenger enable you to have near real-time one-on-one conversations with customers and they sit very well alongside social media channels. The customer has the convenience of using a channel which they feel comfortable with and doesn’t require them to hang around waiting for an answer.  For agents it means they can handle multiple conversations at the same time.

Read our blog on how social messaging apps are pushing the customer service frontier.

Understand customer needs and motivations

Social channels can provide a huge array of useful data and insight into how customer needs are changing over time as well as highlight any specific customer experience issues they are having. Collate and analyse your social data to find key new trends or areas which you can work to improve or enhance, to give you an edge over your competitors. Use a social customer service app like Sentiment to set up customised, regular reports to provide overview and drill-down detail on what customers are complaining about, across your social channels.

Social channels enable you to engage with your customers quickly and easily. Show your customers you care by providing a fast, efficient response to their message and this will go a long way to improving customer retention. 

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Tags: Integrated social customer service, messaging apps, social messaging, customer retention