2014 Predictions for Social Customer Support

Crystal Ball

Crystal Ball (Photo credit: justin_a_glass)

Wow, is it time for predictions already? Things move fast in social, and to me it seems the whole year has flown by.

Marketers are predicting that more money will be spent on social media next year because of its attractive price tag and its ability to reach consumers where they are. There is also chatter about whether Google+ will gain traction this year, and questions around how Snapchat will factor in.

Regardless of the platform, it seems that the concepts of social listening and customer support are here to stay. The changing venues of this listening may create some challenges in the customer support department as we scramble to get the feed from the latest new location. Thankfully,  monitoring tools have made tremendous advances and many are able to add sites very quickly to get the data needed. 

5 Social Customer Support Predictions for 2014

  • Measurement – Listening and engagement tools are not only developing rapidly, but specializing as well. This should enable us to move away from soft metrics on social care and get insight to some really neat things, like cost per transaction, handle time, and the like.
  • First Stop: Social Media – Historically, many customers reached out on social media out of frustration with traditional channels, and as a last resort. As social care proves to be a handy option, I think we might see some customers head straight for social media.
  • Push for Faster Response Times – Customers want responses right now. Engagement tools are increasingly able to help us respond more quickly. Seems we may see a trend toward decreasing response times.
  • More Volume, Staffing Increase – As our friends in marketing spend more ad dollars on social (as their 2014 predictions say), and customers come to us first expecting faster response times (boy I’m starting to feel like that song, “On the first day of Christmas” where the list gets longer and longer), we’ll probably need more staff to support that. Take those good operational metrics with you when you ask for that headcount; you’ll probably need them!
  • Integration – Now that social care is established and collecting customer feedback, expect that feedback to be integrated into other departments.

So, what about this concept that if everyone is complaining, it should start to matter less as our senses dull? I do agree that with so many customers sharing their brand experiences it may be more challenging for stories to go viral; however I don’t think that provides any safety to companies. It seems that the general impression your brand makes on consumers as a whole may rise above the din of countless individual stories to leave a lasting impression. We saw this with the cancelled Chase Bank #AskJPM Twitter Q&A. Though you may not have read every comment, the overall sentiment was pretty clear.

I’m excited to see what 2014 holds for social customer support. We have the opportunity to be personal at scale, and then understand what our customers are telling us to better serve their needs.

Facebook Launching Ranked and Threaded Comments

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

InsideFacebook reported yesterday that Facebook will be rolling out the ability for users to respond directly to individual post comments. Further, ranking based on individual Facebook user connections and level of post engagement will be applied. So, for example, let’s use Bob and Harry. If Bob’s friend Harry commented on a post, or replied to a comment on a post, it seems Harry’s comment could be displayed to Bob before other comments. It also seems that the comments with the most engagement may be displayed higher in the thread than those receiving fewer responses.

What can this mean to social customer care? Potentially many things. When customers are pleased with an event, this can positively drive brand embassador comments right to the top of a thread. Conversely, if customers are upset about a recent price increase, or are rallying for a service to be provided, one comment by a customer can be echoed by many customers very quickly. This is what I call the “pile on phenomenon”. Raising these detractor comments to the top of the pile can encourage more and more customers to weigh in because they are more visible, and because many other people have already weighed in, there is more perceived safety in responding.

In the InsideFacebook article, Britany Darwell reports that page admins will be able to reduce the post ranking without deleting the post, though the procedure for that is not mentioned. It is also unknown whether any social care-focused listening tools will be able to automate the process of post rank reduction.

How do you think this change could impact social customer care?