Customer Service Goes Social

Let’s hypothetically poll our audience of pet store owners and pet industry fans really fast: “if you have an issue with a product or service, where do you go to get that resolved?”

If we had to bet, we’d say that if the issue is an emergency, you’re going to the phone or to social media, and if it’s not a pressing concern then you might send an email if possible. But calling in to customer service has to be one of the most dreaded tasks of on any to-do list right? Among all demographics, the growing trend is not in calling in, or sending emails, but going to Facebook and Twitter to get answers to questions, get issues resolved, and get on with their lives quickly.

Clearly, social media platforms have evolved to become more than emergent platforms for marketing and advertising. If you haven’t been convinced of that through our past Insider posts, please go wild here:

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Increasingly, these platforms have become critically important channels through which consumers solicit and receive customer service. According to the Q2 2016 Sprout Social Index, 90 percent of surveyed consumers have used social media in some way to communicate with a brand. What’s more, over a third (34.5 percent) said they preferred social media to traditional channels like phone and email.

Customer Service Goes Social

And if your pet store hasn’t yet, it should! Let’s take a look at some of the data on how using your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram inbox can be a powerful customer service tool in your pet store’s marketing strategy.

Customers that receive a responses from brands on Twitter are willing to spend up to 20% more and are 30% more likely to recommend the brand.

This study conducted by Twitter not only states that millions of people are talking to businesses publicly each month via Tweets, but that responding also increases word of mouth activity, likeliness to recommend, and customer satisfaction

In addition to revenue potential, customers who receive service via Twitter will create measurable upper-funnel impact. Customers are 44% more likely to share their experiences—both online as well as offline—after receiving a response from a business on Twitter. Further, they are 30% more likely to recommend the business, and respond an entire point higher (2.66 vs 3.66) on customer satisfaction surveys.

Pet stores that aren’t on Twitter can similarly utilize their Facebook and Instagram inboxes as customer service channels. If your pet store isn’t using these inboxes, you are missing out on the chance to improve customer experience, place orders to hold in store, collect customer photos and reviews, and more.

54% of customers prefer social messaging channels for care over phone or email.

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It’s easy to see why customers prefer social media over phone and email. Social often provides a faster and more direct line to a brand, whereas they can wait on hold for hours if they call a 1-800 support number. That’s helps explain why 32% of US internet users said, in 2015, that phone is the most frustrating customer service channel, while only 6% said the same for Twitter and 5% for Facebook.

Ultimately, customers want to get their issues and questions sorted out quickly, and if it can’t happen quickly then they want to work with a human that can help them. Using social inboxes provides both, so long as your pet store marketing team is diligent in overseeing them! Which brings us to….

One last stat for you: Failure to respond via social channels can lead to a 15% increase in the churn rate for existing customers.

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If you have social media pages that are set up but you aren’t monitoring them, that can be a big issue in communicating with existing customers, and a big bottleneck to growing your new customer base. Customers understand that wait times for something like email (the new snail mail?) are going to be longer, simply because the availability of social media as a customer service opportunity has created the expectation of shorter response times. According to Sprout Social’s consumer survey:

  • 73% of people have had a negative experience with a brand on social.

  • 36% of people have used social to shame a company for poor customer service.

  • 30% of people will go to competitor if a brand doesn’t respond.

If your pet store’s marketing is failing to communicate properly with your customer queries, it can work against you. We’ve seen it happen. We think the best way to prevent those things from slipping through the cracks is to have an expert managing your social media platforms for your pet store!

Improving Your Online Customer Service

Some quick tips to make your pet store’s social platforms the best place to inspire organic audience posts, get recommendations and reviews, build brand loyalty, and make your customers happy:

  • Improve your social listening skills. Actively listen and monitor for mentions, tags, and outreaches.

  • Respond to both positive and negative engagement. Utilize the public transparency of social media to your advantage, and go private when necessary to provide that personal touch.

  • Focus on the customer experience. Strive to deliver excellence in every interaction, be it recognizing a loyal customer, answering a question or resolving a customer issue.

Conclusion

To put it simply, more and more customers are not only using social media to reach out to pet stores and other businesses, but they are expecting these businesses to handle their inquiries through these channels! Neglecting these platforms as a valuable opportunity to improve your customer communication is a mistake.

This will be our last (for a while) post on social media, so to wrap things up let’s go back in time a few weeks and cover some of our most delightful Insider posts on social media.

Ultimately, the driving idea is that your pet store’s social media can be as strong or as weak as you want it to be. Some platforms are better for specific purposes than others, but none of them are only good for one reason - they all have multifaceted benefits, tools, and resources that can help your pet store’s marketing and branding reach your desired audience.

Other than that….it’s a LOT isn’t it? A lot of possibilities, a lot of opportunities, a lot to handle, and a lot to think about. If you’re feeling like it’s too much, you’re in luck because here at Pet Engine we implement and manage all of your pet store’s marketing arms and aims, so give us a shout on any of our social platforms and let’s see how we start helping your pet store succeed!