Community Managers are the future of Customer Relationship

In a world where I can reach my grandmother on Facebook Messenger but I can’t reach my internet provider on Twitter because they just don’t have a Twitter profile, something is not working well.

As you know, conversations are shifting from traditional channels like phone and email to social media and brands try to adapt and introduce this new channel into their customer relationship. But still, 89% of social media messages to brands go ignored.

“80% of companies online are under the impression that they deliver exceptional social media customer service, while only 8% of their customers say that they agree.”

Brands are tempted to add this new channel to its customer care service. Managing Social Media incoming messages as they would do for an incoming email and alongside set up some specific SMM tools to monitor this new curiosity.

Unlike traditional one-to-one customer relationship, brands are walking into a new world where conversations happen in a social sphere, a community. You can’t handle a phone call as you would handle a comment on Facebook.

Understanding the complexity of your social sphere will make it clear that you can’t copy-paste your traditional customer care strategy to social media. You need a trendy superhero: the community manager.

Welcome to a world of public conversations

Have you ever tried to have a private chat in a busy company lift? Social Media are this new sphere which signals the end of private conversations.

Would you say the same things to your customer in front of an audience of a thousand people as in a phone call? Would you employ the same tone of voice? Ask the same sensitive information?

You’re not alone anymore. Your social audience matters.

This audience is almost as important, if not more important, than the individual customer that you’re interacting with. Just think of all those bad buzz coming from community manager’s inappropriate actions.

One Retweet or just a Facebook comment can turn viral, reach thousands of people and deeply affect your brand reputation.

Keeping in line with the voice and personality of a brand may sound like a cakewalk, but mastering the tone of a company is often easier said than done especially under the scrutiny of potentially thousands of people.

Community managers’ missions show how complex the social sphere is

Community manager’s missions do really vary depending on the company, the social media team size, the community manager seniority, whether you call it a “Social Media Manager” or a “Social Media Strategist”… But if you still don’t know what kind of missions a community manager can be on, here is a glimpse:

  • Having conversations — with the brand advocates and all possible folks in from the brand communities; moderating owned channels
  • Content creation — writing blog posts, articles, newsletters, communications materials, and material for social media channels. Creating a regular publishing schedule.
  • Analytics — daily use of measurement tools such as Google Analytics to provide reports on metrics.
  • Social Selling — depending on the company activity and social media strategy, the Community Manager can also be responsible for business development and sales.
  • Monitor trends — of the latest technologies, contents, design and strategy.
  • Events organization — organizing a live video on Facebook or Instagram, special contest to win prizes… the community manager requires.
  • Social Listening — understanding your customers, their main interests, what drives conversations, keeping a close eye on competitors and monitoring brand’s e-reputation.
  • Managing sponsored campaigns — planning and monitoring of social ads on Facebook, Twitter…

Let me be clear, I don’t say that managing your customer relationship on social media requires this large set of skills. I just want to show you that managing a social media community involves many expertises, way beyond customer care.

Customer relationship KPIs on social media are also of a different nature: now we’re talking about reach, engagement or event sentiment analysis.

Content drives conversations

Your social fan pages are not a neutral public place where people would talk between them about random topics. Your content drives conversations.

See your social fan page as your own created universe where you want to invite your customers.

When H&M is featuring its autumn’s collection with the singer Tiffany Young it’s not only to express its brand value and lifestyle, it’s a call for engagement.

The same way you would start a conversation talking about the latest news you read in your local newspaper, H&M is telling you: “hey do you like Scotland and Tiffany Young as well? By the way that’s our new collection, do you like it?”

Your social fan pages belong to you, you can do whatever you want to express your brand image on Social Media. Just don’t forget the conversations you might drive.

You want that the content you share will bring your community together, will drive conversations about topics and values you foster.

It’s a 24/7 relationship

Most forms of customer support via phone and email are not typically expected to be available 24/7. Yet, social media customer support has created an “always-on” expectation.

With social media, word of mouth is getting into a new dimension because of its unpredictable reach and new temporal value. A small customer incident can turn into a major bad buzz that can reach thousands of people…

According to social media expert Jay Baer, 42% of consumers who complain over social media expect a response time of 60 minutes or less.

Being able to respond during weekends and out of office hours involves a specific customer service organization that requires flexibility and a wise allocation of your resources. You obviously can’t rule a 24/7 fully operational team; your community manager still has to sleep at some point.

Engagement > Response

Customer service on Social Media is about more than just answering questions or dealing with problems. We can define engagement as an emotional involvement or commitment.

One does not pick up the phone and call KFC’s hotline to say how great were the last chicken wings he had. On Social Media that happens!

Social Media like Instagram simply gives you a chance to say “thank you”to your customers when they share their enthusiast.

Today customer expectations are sky-high and brand loyalty is key, engaging with your customers might be the easiest and cheapest way to nurture loyalty.

A good community manager will not hesitate to Retweet someone who posted a picture of your brand or product. We always undervalue the power of a simple “like” to a fan comment.

Influencers are to be part of your customer service

Influencers for your customer service? Yes, influencers are not only one part of your Social Media marketing strategy they can also play a crucial role in your customer service.

As soon your influencers are taking part of your marketing effort, sharing some of your content, talking about one of your product they unwittingly become part of your customer service team.

Source: Olapic

Influencers seem even more important since you customers might put a larger attention on they sayings than on yours. It is now quite common that your customers ask questions directly to influencers about your products and not to you!

They are your voice for many of your customers so let’s make sure you consider them for your customer care.

To make sure they provide the right answers you can, for example, provide them with a specific influencer FAQ they could use or set a special contact point that will provide them with all the information they need.

Customer relationship on Social Media, if well managed, can be a huge opportunity to bring back empathy to customer service. This is not an easy job, a daily emotional labor that can create strong bonds between your brand and your customers.

If you liked this article, please feel free to SHARE IT! If you disagree on some points I’ll be glad to discuss it in the comments.

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