Customer Service: The Power of Social Listening

The Power of Social Listening

The opportunity to provide better customer service improves as technology becomes more innovative. The Internet boom has made customer service easier for your customers via email, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. However, you may still be missing a huge customer service opportunity.

Hundreds of millions of people use the Internet daily. And, just as people are unique, there are millions of online conversations that are vastly different from each other. Somewhere, in one of the many online streams, someone is talking about your brand or company. It could be good, but knowing what we know from our customer service research, it’s more likely negative.

Take, for example, the United Breaks Guitars YouTube Video. Almost 12 million people watched that video about poor service from United Airlines. While not every online conversation about your brand may be that popular, the potential for damage is still huge. Some companies are beginning to use “social listening” to tune into and monitor discussions of their brand.

You are able to discover what people are really saying about your company, and respond appropriately, by including social listening in your customer service plan. Some customers who have issues with your products or services will attempt to resolve them through the proper channels, but others will instead discuss their negative experience online. The ‘viral’ effect online is akin to the ‘snowball’ effect, where a seemingly small occurrence can quickly become a disaster.

One of the biggest reasons that people take their complaints online is that a company’s designated customer service channels have proven to be unhelpful. While you may believe that your customer service is the cream of the crop, occasionally people will be left unsatisfied, as was the case of the musician who made the United Breaks Guitars video. He tried for more than a year to get the airline to replace his guitar, but was never reimbursed, which lead to his song.

Social listening programs scrape the Internet for people who are talking about your company, saving you countless Google searches. With the results you can recognize shortfalls and find solutions before they become serious threats.

The first step to take to avoid a public black eye is to deploy a customer service survey. You decrease the odds that a customer will need to take their complaint online when you ask for and react to honest feedback about your customer service channels. Remember, sometimes customers simply want to be heard. Their argument may or may not be valid, but a callous response – or worse, no response at all – will always be upsetting.

NBRI helps companies just like yours become global leaders by combining powerful research with deep analytics. If you’re ready to join their ranks, here’s how we can help: