Why Summer is Make-or-Break for Social Customer Service

“Summertime, and the living is easy…” until something goes wrong. Then it’s summertime and you’re 3,000 miles from home with a sunburn, no cellphone service, no bank account access, and a desparate plea on social media is your only hope for customer service. Here are three things for brands to keep in mind this summer as the temperature spikes and digital contact centers need to be prepared to deliver responsive, empathetic social customer service. 

1) Meet stress with empathy

When something goes wrong at home, it’s easy to stay calm, but even the coolest cucumber can get stressed out when something goes wrong on the road. Customers tend to feel more helpless, and therefore more stressed. Here's what not to do:

What's wrong here? 
1. No empathy: I just told you my wife is on crutches, I mean, come on
2. No resolution: in fact, the only "resolution" is for me to initiate another service request
3. No personalization: I feel nameless, the agent is nameless

It’s vital for brands to expect social customer service queries and complaints to be a little more emotional during the summer months. And if they want to retain those customers into the autumn, in the summer brands have to treat customers with more empathy than ever. It’s not enough to simply say sorry when something goes wrong, but that's a good place to start. Asking a customer to send a DM is a good way to get them to hit the roof. Brands have to reach out to customers with responsive, personalized and results-driven social customer service. Even if the ideal of first-contact resolution can’t be maintained in every case, the care agent can immediately calm the customer by responding quickly and taking the complaint seriously.

Do: Remember that customers are especially stressed. Go out of your way to be kind and express sympathy with their situation.

Don't: Use a robotic tone of voice and simply give cookie-cutter instructions to the customer when something goes wrong. 

2) Be easy to find

One sure way to make a customer’s temperature rise is to be hard to contact. This is where active social customer service is so important. When you’re sitting behind your desk at home, it might not be too inconvenient to go searching on a company’s website for contact information. But that’s not as easy on a smart phone and certainly not when you’re standing in line at the airport or the hospital.

Every brand should have a Twitter handle and should be easy to reach on multiple social media channels. Being easy to contact is a strong first step toward establishing trust – a feeling that’s especially important during emergencies, or any time a customer is feeling stressed. Of course, a mobile-optimized website helps too, but just about everyone has Twitter and Facebook on their phone and both channels are easy to use on the go, making them a key point of contact that all brands should take advantage of.

Do: Make sure it's easy to get in touch by having a clear contacts page on your website and an active presence on social media. 

Don't: Expect customers to search around for an email address or a phone number when they need to get in touch.

3) Remember social conversations are public

Social customer service isn’t only important for current customers, it’s important for future customers as well. That’s because conversations on social media are visible to everyone. Angry customers are more likely to voice complaints in a public way, and that means everyone is watching. The way that brands handle customer crises is important both now and in the future because other customers will judge a brand based on how they respond to angry customers.

Not only that, but everyone loves a good social customer service rant, so it’s likely that other customers will get in on the act, chiming in with their own gripes. To minimize the negative publicity of angry customers during the summer, companies have to make sure their social customer service is on-point. And rather than shuffling complaints onto another channel by asking a customer to send a DM or make a phone call, brands should use the public nature of social media as an opportunity to show off how good their social customer service is.

Do: Deal with public complaints in a public way and show the world how awesome you are at social customer service.

Don't: Make customers channel hop or send them into private discussions when it's not absolutely necessary.

What did you do on your summer vacation?

More than any other time of year, summer is make-or-break for social customer service. When September rolls around, digital contact centers will get a chance to look back on everything that has transpired over the last several months. Summer can be a time for reassuring current customers and inspiring new ones with extraordinary social customer service, or it can be an endless bummer for everyone involved.

What will you be thinking come fall? Brand Embassy can help ensure that your summer is full of social customer service wins. By streamlining the care process, telling you more about your customers, and gathering information from across digital channels, our social customer service software will help you put your customers at the heart of your business and keep them loyal all year round. Sign up for a free trial today, or check out our website for more information.

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