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The Rise of Social Messaging for Customer Service, Brand Loyalty, and Engagement

In this era of advanced technology, businesses must keep up with changing attitudes and behaviors of consumers. If not, they’ll be stuck behind their competitors who are diligently listening to their customers and their needs. One such need that businesses must meet in this digital world is quality customer service. But providing high-quality customer service is no longer just handling their issues via phone or email. Customer service now involves social messaging as a way to communicate with customers, whether it’s through one-on-one messaging or chatbots. Over half (51%) of U.S. and U.K. consumers are more likely to be a repeat customer of a brand that provides customer service support over social messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

When it comes to preference, 68% of consumers prefer to communicate with companies via messaging. Consumers are increasingly demanding immediate service and short response times. Social messaging lends businesses the ability to meet these demands.

So what should businesses do about this evolution of customer communication? Make it a top priority to invest in these social messaging platforms to improve customer service, build brand loyalty, and increase engagement with customers.

CONNECT WITH CUSTOMERS

Billions of consumers use at least one of Facebook’s social chat apps. Because of their massive reach, businesses can target customers where they’re already spending a lot of their time. What makes social messaging so powerful is its convenience and ease of use. Customers can ask their favorite brands questions any time of day, no matter where they are. According to Facebook IQ, people say messaging has made their communication simpler, more frequent, more thoughtful, and more ongoing. Because a messaging app consists of threaded conversations within a permanent messaging structure, consumers and businesses have historical transcripts of conversations that only disappear if deleted. Both the consumer and representative can go back and reference the conversation so that important details don’t have to be repeated. This helps eliminate the frustration customers feel when they need to explain an issue multiple times to different agents.

Brands can make it easier for consumers to reach out for support by giving them the choice to interact and get help on a one-on-one basis. For example, airlines such as KLM use Facebook Messenger to give customers detailed flight information and boarding passes. Restaurant chains like Taco Bell use a social messaging platform called Slack to expedite food orders through chatbots.

IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

As businesses increasingly move toward social messaging platforms to provide customer service, consumers feel more connected and engaged with their favorite brands. This makes businesses appear more personable. With social messaging adding a more personal touch, customers feel that they can trust brands. As a result, their satisfaction and resultant good feelings about the brand encourage them to buy from them again.

Many customers complain about products and services on social media. Brands often respond to these complaints to save their reputations. Through social messaging, businesses can communicate with unsatisfied customers and offer solutions to their problems. Brands can do this by providing information about their product (in case the customer is using it incorrectly) or by offering a refund. This more immediate response is appealing to customers.

Additionally, some social messaging platforms are integrated with e-commerce sites to make purchasing products and services easier for customers. Facebook started experimenting with e-commerce by partnering with retailers Everlane and Zulily. This integration allows users to make a purchase straight through Messenger with the help of a customer service rep. For some, emails may be too slow an option if they have a pressing situation. Others may try to avoid making phone calls (e.g., millennials). But messaging can be convenient and, dare we say, fun. Consumer-centric brands subscribe to the belief of meeting their customers where they are. Provide valuable customer service by including a strategy that connects your support team with your target audience via social messaging.

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