We are entering another moment of uncertainty – with cost-of-living and rising interest rates becoming a real concern for individuals. Brands can look at ways of proactively reaching their customers to help anticipate their questions and worries.

Before creating new customer care processes, brands need to identify the difference between customer service and customer care. Only then can they begin to understand how to provide proactive and meaningful customer care. This is equally opposed to generic and formulaic customer service. 

Despite these terms often being used interchangeably, they don’t mean the same thing. Using them interchangeably is often where brands get it wrong. 

While customer service can be defined as an aspect of customer care, it is the whole package. Customer care is a definitive level up from customer service. It’s when customer service goes beyond passively responding to inquiries. With this, organisations don’t just meet customer needs – they excel beyond them.

It is needed now more than ever as businesses continue to suffer from problems created by the pandemic. This includes global supply chains leaving warehouses empty, and retailers scrambling for inventory. These issues will continue to grow and inevitably hit customers – affecting their experience. Therefore, businesses need to be proactive in addressing and solving these issues before they reach their customers.

Social is your customers’ key channel for customer care – make it yours too!

Social has become a key component in customer care. It is the easiest way for brands to engage, anticipate and react to customer queries. The top two channels customers use for reaching out to brands are on social media. 

Tagging is a great example of a strategy you can employ to elevate your customer care experience on other platforms, like Instagram. This can help brands to create tailored inbox views where they can triage customer questions. They can make sure all customer care agents are up to speed on the proposed strategy. Messages can be tagged both by urgency – which can help ensure customers are connected to the right representative quickly, or by concern – which can help develop a better understanding of a customer’s questions and complaints going forward. 

This is as well as being tagged by response need. This highlights when someone is trying to promote their own services in your replies. In which case, they aren’t actionable.

The results of using this system can be seen in real time, especially in the case of TUI. They used insights from the tool to determine which kinds of content they should prioritise and proactively communicate.

From there, they were able to respond to over 500,00 customer queries in three months with a remote team of only 61 people. This was an improvement from the unprecedented 53,900 customer queries in 2020. This transformation highlights how businesses who take a proactive approach to customer care are able to gain loyalty amongst their customers by showing up and responding when needed.

Use technology to help manage moments of high volume or demand

Tools are particularly useful during periods of high demand such as Black Friday and the upcoming holiday season. This is a time where brands are expected to have an increase in customer queries. Therefore, they will need to have a strong customer care strategy in place to ensure quality of service isn’t affected. 

Last year’s holiday period brought retailers an 18% increase in social messages. This highlighted how brands need to develop a more advanced customer care strategy for this period.

When developing a customer care strategy, brands need to not only consider variations in demand, but also variations in social media interactions. Since social media interactions can come in many forms, brands need to be wary of handling social messages natively. This puts them at risk of sending duplicate or conflicting responses to the same person. 

In order to avoid this, brands should invest in tools equipped with collision detection. These will display real time notifications to alert when two co-workers are interacting with the same message.

Don’t forget to look after your team!

In 2021, 55% of agents said that a supportive work environment was the most important thing needed to do their job well. The influence of a supported and nurtured employee results in stronger outcomes for your customers. 

The idea of social media management jobs being overlooked and not appreciated is nothing new. But, as it continues to grow, so does the impact of this perception on customer care. As the time and skills required to manage a brand’s social media are underestimated, so is the support offered. Resulting in customer care teams not being well-equipped enough to respond to customers proactively. 

By spending the time and money required to invest in a well-thought-out customer care plan, brands can create a better experience for both their customers and agents. This is as brands look to up their game for customers in these uncertain times. By creating a thorough plan, changes in technology, demand and wider economic factors can be tackled with ease and maintained quality.

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