Online customer service can literally make or break a brand these days. On a daily basis, millions of customers turn to social to publicly vent or complain about a brand, so being able to respond in a timely and helpful manner has never been so key for brand success.
Today, people want to have a reciprocal conversation with brands online and they expect this to be a two-way conversation. The desire for brands to interact with their online reviews, and comments, left on social media has never been higher. In fact, 61% of Gen Y believe brands should respond to comments made about them online – even indirectly (Source: DMA).
Essentially, the pressure for brands to keep on top of their customer service has never been greater - but with ever evolving social channels, consumer habits and new technologies arising, how can brands keep on top of this?
This was a hot topic at the recent DMA Customer Engagement Event, and I’d like to start by quoting a few stats from a recent study conducted by Future Foundation Research. They provided some interesting, and rather surprising, findings from a survey on adults aged 16+.
Contrary to popular belief, 47% of people interviewed expressed an interest in pop-up messenger chat boxes when shopping online. 50% of those interviewed readily agreed chat messenger apps were favourable for communication and purchasing with a brand. And why wouldn’t they? They’re quick and easy, you can have an answer there and then, rather than filling out a dreary online form and waiting 24-48 hours for a response.
Interestingly, the popularity in using virtual shopping assistants (whom researched products based on user preferences) is highest between the younger demographics – the biggest peak in interest among the 16-24 year olds, followed by 25-34 and 34-44 years respectively.
If you don’t already have one on your retail website, it’s certainly something worth considering. Ensure in advance you have the available resource in place to fulfil the service and this works in unison with your social channel support.
If creating a dedicated app on your website feels too costly right now, why not investigate the free messenger apps readily available? The use of messenger apps by brands are rapidly on the rise, with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp the most notable. WhatsApp is currently dominating the market with 1 billion active users vs. 900 billion for Facebook Messenger at a Global level. Although these look pretty neck and neck, when comparing the daily usage, WhatsApp is leaps and bounds ahead at 70%.