How to See if Your Social Media Strategy is Impacting CX

It is now commonplace for companies to leverage social media channels to connect with customers. While most companies are engaging on social media, not all businesses are aware of how they are performing. It is critical to understand how your social strategy stacks up against key competitors and to ensure that your social presence is helping, not hurting, the overall customer experience (CX).

While success has typically been defined in marketing terms like engagement and reach, how social media interactions contribute to CX is often left out of the equation. However, the value of social media extends well beyond likes and comments on your content. Social media can provide critical insights into customer behavior, enabling you to better understand the customer journey through your social channels.

Benchmarking is key to evaluating your social media channels, providing feedback on how you are performing in core markets and exposing areas for improvement. A deeper dive into your social performance helps determine the potential of your social networks to add value to your overall customer service strategy. During the benchmarking process, it is important to determine your strengths, look for weaknesses compared to your competition, and seek out opportunities for differentiation.

Below are four questions to evaluate how social media is impacting the customer experience:

1. Can Customers Leverage Social for Support?

More than 60 percent of customers expect companies to offer customer service on social media. When providing customer support on social, be sure to correctly manage expectations, which can differ for each industry. For example, tourism and leisure companies must be reachable on the weekends. Consider whether certain social media accounts are more commonly used for support requests? When is your company available? Can customers reach you on social after normal business hours?

Customer support opportunities are not only messages sent directly to your accounts. While 37 percent of all tweets are customer service-related, only 3 percent of those tweets directly tag a company's handle. To comprehensively support customers, you must monitor beyond just your accounts with social media listening technology.

A proactive approach to social media customer support improves CX. Arming your social team with business development skills can convert social interactions into potential sales leads. For example, a global connected home technology provider saw three times growth in social media users and conversations about it with proactive support.

2. Do You Reply to Inquiries Quickly?

Speed is king when it comes to meeting consumer demands. Ask yourself: How many customers receive responses to their messages? Is your social team replying on all of your social channels? Does your company have unanswered reviews? What is your average response time?

When reaching out on social, 32 percent of people expect a response in 30 minutes, and 42 percent expect a reply within an hour. And yet, many companies still take hours or even days to get back. Companies must close this gap, given that 61 percent of people have stopped doing business with companies because of a poor digital customer experience. A leading automotive company cut response times down from two hours to just 17 minutes by focusing on responsiveness.

3. Are Customer Issues Handled Effectively?

Globally, 59 percent of people view companies that reply to customer service questions or complaints on social media more favorably. To resolve issues, you must demonstrate a willingness to help and take ownership of the problem. Given that 43 percent of consumers rank getting issues resolved in a single interaction as the most important aspect of good digital customer experience, make sure your social team can offer a solution without being too dependent on other departments.

Fumbling a PR crisis on social can have a far-reaching effect on a business, like when United Airlines saw its stock fall due to social media outrage over a passenger's removal from a flight. To handle a potential PR crisis like a product recall, coordinate with your PR and communications departments to put together a crisis communications plan that can be executed on social. The plan should include a public statement tailored for each social channel and a Q&A that the social team can use.

4. Are You Connecting with Your Audience?

Your social team needs to stimulate interactions to win over customers. To connect with customers, you need to provide personalized, authentic, and relatable responses instead of generic ones to keep customers satisfied and improve your brand image.

Striking the right tone through high-quality, personalized customer service can be an impactful marketing tool for your business. When customers talk about their positive experiences on social media, it brings brand awareness and boosts your reputation. For example, a telecommunication company proactively tapped into conversations and boosted brand awareness at a rate equivalent with spending more than $5,000 on an ad campaign.

Beyond measuring your performance, social media benchmarking is a useful tool for tapping into customers' conversations to learn where your company can advance and seeing if your products are resonating in the marketplace. Social media customer feedback can help product and research and development teams enhance or change products or services to offer a better user experience.

Though social media has traditionally been a priority for marketing and customer service departments, benchmarking delivers value across the business, including on the executive level, since the process can uncover whether your social strategy is leading to positive overall business outcomes.

Zoé Peri is a social media solutions manager at Majorel.