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20 October 2019

Consumer preferences are driving big changes in customer service

The rise of direct messaging spells the end of the community manager

By JP Kloppers, BrandsEye Group CEO

The community manager no longer has the resources at their disposal to handle the growing stream of online customer service interactions. By arming them with the right tools and permissions, organisations have a great opportunity to better understand and service their customers.

The way in which people communicate is fundamentally changing, particularly as online channels grow in popularity. Traditionally, community management meant posting content and building a business’s brand with content and engagement on social media. As more customers began to direct their complaints to the social handles of companies, the job began to transform into a customer service role. This has steadily increased as customers seek to publicly out the bad service they’ve received or speak directly with the brand in private messaging on Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, on Whatsapp.

The traditional call centre is being disrupted by online channels. These channels are focused on direct messaging and chat tools that effectively reduce turnaround times, improve satisfaction, minimise staff costs and ideally prioritise the most valuable customer engagements.

Millennials and Gen Z are more comfortable texting than speaking to a stranger. Direct messaging allows them to engage in real-time, from their smartphones, without the awkwardness of a conversation, while still maintaining a human connection. In an age of always-on customer demands there’s no place for the slow back and forth of email and long call waiting times.

Community managers are overwhelmed by the growing volume of online service requests and this is compromising their ability to understand and manage the online community. The sheer volume of complaints, particularly for subscription model businesses like telecoms and banks, can’t adequately be dealt with by a single person manually sifting through thousands of individual mentions. They’re often ill-equipped to answer customer service complaints that have typically been handled by call centre agents and lack the requisite permissions to access user profiles and account information. As a result, many customer interactions are missed. This leads to increased customer ire, reputational damage, missed sales opportunities, increased churn, and worsening customer service times.

Organisations, therefore, need to invest in this critical area of providing their community managers with better tools to understand the experiences their customers are having, and the tools to clean and prioritise the queries currently bombarding them.

If they are equipped with the tools and permissions required to deal with customer service complaints at scale, the community manager role can expand towards a customer care role.

Answering customers quickly is important but it’s crucial to deal with the most valuable ones first. Prioritisation is key as some engagement from consumers is more important than others. A tweet may pose significant market conduct or churn risk, while another may pertain to marketing content and require no immediate response, if any at all.

As direct messaging and new channels like Whatsapp business pick up more traffic as the preferred channel for customer service, businesses will need to think about how they empower the community managers and implement responsive and prioritised systems to best serve their customers.

Direct messaging is a win-win. Customers receive a superior customer experience with responsive and always-on service that they can access from the train or the treadmill. While businesses have the opportunity to drive greater efficiency in the contact centre, by spending more time on the most valuable queries first, ignoring the noise, and ultimately mitigating risk, improving sales conversion, optimising retention, and driving down the cost to serve customers.

BrandEye's social customer care platform, Engage, prioritises your most important customer conversations, optimising your customer care workflow. This allows your customer-facing agents to focus on serving customers without worrying about finding the important tickets in a messy queue. BrandEye’s social customer care platform, Engage, prioritises your most important customer conversations, optimising your customer care workflow. This allows your customer-facing agents to focus on serving customers without worrying about finding the important tickets in a messy queue.

Learn how BrandsEye’s Customer Service solution solves the challenge of identifying and prioritising your most important customer interactions.

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