6 Things Customer Service Should Monitor on Social Media

Decoding customer insights on social media can be tricky. In fact, it's a lot like swimming upstream. The sheer volume and frequency of social insights can be overwhelming and hard to keep up with, which makes monitoring and responding to customers difficult. That said, social customer service is hugely important. According to VB Insights, there were more than 879 million complaints on social media directed at companies last year. The bottom line is that customers are vocal on social channels and companies need to listen, analyze and act (or face the consequences and risk getting left behind).

As long as your social customer service team is looking out for the right things, you'll be able to keep up with social traffic and respond accordingly. Here's what your team should be tracking:

1. Keywords

Tracking and monitoring key words allows your social customer service team to identify trends and respond to feedback quickly. When the same handful of words or phrases keeps popping up, there's usually a reason. Whether customers are experiencing difficulty with a certain product or they're overwhelmingly pleased with a new feature, it's important to be aware of common threads so you can address the feedback with individual customers quickly and make any necessary changes at the business level.

2. Tone

It's important to account for the tone customers use in their feedback. This can be particularly challenging when it comes to social media. Picking up on the tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic tone so frequently found on social channels can be hard when you're sorting through a lot of feedback quickly. But you have to understand tone to understand the meaning of each piece of feedback. This is where sophisticated text analytics technologies come into play. Only the most advanced natural language processing (NLP) solutions can automate the process of deciphering tone. Complaints can come disguised as compliments (and vice versa), but machine learning algorithms can detect sarcasm and jest. As long as your social customer service team is vigilant and responds to feedback with care, this won't be an issue.

3. Emotion

Along the same vein, your social customer service team needs to monitor for emotion. Social channels like Twitter and Facebook are emotionally charged platforms where people express personal opinions, share stories, and engage with others. It's one of the few places where companies can access unsolicited and totally candid feedback from customers, which helps companies better understand wants and needs.

Tracking the emotional sentiment linked to each piece of social feedback can be very valuable in helping you and your team understand the why. What drove a customer to say this about your brand and why is this the experience they're having? When you're able to drill down into the why, you can respond to customers appropriately and start to adjust your strategy accordingly. Ultimately, understanding and responding to emotion creates a better customer experience and helps you build deeper, longer lasting connections.

4. Images and Emojis

It's easy to overlook images and emojis. While it's important to analyze the text of a tweet or post, it's also important to consider the attached image or accompanying set of silly cartoon characters. Why? Because there's meaning in every image and you might miss the point of a piece of feedback if you don't take it into consideration. For example, a tweet that reads "Freshness guaranteed" means something entirely different when it is accompanied by a photo of a cereal box that's seal has been broken.

5. Frequency

Your team should also track how many customer service issues are coming in through social each month, taking note of the level of severity, the type of issues, and the type of follow-up action taken. On top of that, it's important to track positive mentions and feedback so you can highlight what's working well and what customers are most excited about.

Taking note of frequency allows your social customer service team to gauge how trends change over time. They'll also be able to measure whether certain strategies fix issues or make matters worse. All-in-all tracking frequency allows you and your team to keep close tabs on how your social customer service program is evolving.

6. Response Time

Finally, it's important to track how long it takes your social customer service team to respond to feedback and how long it takes, on average, to resolve an issue. There's a lot of information that your team is tracking daily and social feedback is flooding in all the while. But the most important step is that feedback is addressed and resolved in a timely matter. That's what keeps customers loyal and cuts down on churn. So make sure you're monitoring response time and constantly working with your team to address feedback as quickly and accurately as possible.

Elizabeth Clor is senior director of content marketing at Clarabridge.

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