The top social media trends set to impact customer service in 2019
• 2018 was a year that transformed social media, with people becoming more selective about which platforms they use, conscious about the amount of time they spend on sites and wary of information shared.
• But with 81 per cent of people stating that their expectations for digital customer service are now higher than they were 12 months ago, companies need to make sure that they pay attention to future trends and adapt their strategies accordingly.
• Here Estelle Wienk, global social media consultant at Arvato CRM Solutions, discusses the top social media trends set to impact customer service in 2019.
Read time: 5 minutes
2018 has been an eventful year for social media, with rising concerns surrounding the sharing of misinformation and worries about its impact on our wellbeing transforming the way people use platforms.
In fact, a report from Global Web Index has found that 32 per cent of people in the US and UK closed a social media account in 2018, with lack of interest in content and worries about the amount of time spent on platforms among the main reasons why people switched off.
Although we don’t expect that there will be a mass social media shutdown in 2019, it does mean that people now have higher expectations of the content they consume. This creates a real challenge for brands and means that they will have to offer a more efficient service and produce even more compelling and creative posts to successfully engage with their target audiences.
Here we look at the key trends that brands need to pay attention to over the next 12 months, exploring how they can utilize new developments to offer effective customer service support via social media.
1. Building trust
In its yearly trust barometer, marketing consultancy firm Edelman classed 2018 as the year that consumers started the battle for the truth. People are now more aware of misinformation being shared across social platforms and as a result are increasingly wary of what they read.
Although it means that brands need to be squeaky clean when it comes to the information they share it also presents them with a real opportunity.
In 2019 consumers will be actively searching for knowledgeable experts to provide them with information that they can trust, and brands are ideally placed to deliver this.
Companies should be empowering their staff to act as ambassadors or key spokespeople for their brand, as consumers are more likely to engage with content attributed to a person rather than a faceless company.
Using social media listening tools is also an effective way for firms to build a rapport with customers and make sure that they’re providing them with the information they require. They allow brands to actively monitor and capture discussions and use these insights to proactively reach out to followers or create content that is exactly suited to their needs.
2. Customer service via messaging apps
Research has revealed that people are now choosing to interact via platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger rather than speaking to each other directly. Simple to use and informal in tone, they’re now a vital way that consumers engage with brands, allowing them to speak directly with representatives without using more traditional forms of communications such as phone or email.
In fact, a new global report by Facebook and Nielsen, says that messenger apps are now the preferred way for people to contact companies, using them to purchase products, seek support or simply giving feedback on services.
With reliance on messenger apps only set to increase in 2019, businesses need to make sure that offering customer support via messaging apps is a key priority.
81 per cent of respondents in the latest Conversocial report stated that their expectations for digital customer service are now higher than they were 12 months ago.
With standards expected to keep rising in 2019 brands need to make sure that they’re adapting their tactics on social media, using tools and approaches that will help them offer the highest standard or service. Fail to do so and the likelihood is that people will simply scroll on by.
3. The importance of personalized social media customer service
Despite recognizing the benefits of new technologies, the overwhelming message from global consumers in 2018 was that they don’t want bots to replace people entirely, with 59 per cent of people stating that interacting with humans is essential when trying to resolve an issue.
But in many cases, using tech such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA) will have exactly the opposite effect and could boost the level of personal interaction that people have with brands.
This is because robots are brilliant at helping drown out social media noise by dealing with simple queries automatically, allowing representatives to concentrate on the issues and exchanges that matter.
We’ve discussed previously the tactics that brands can employ to establish a real connection with consumers, such as using a conversational tone, creating an online community or personalizing responses. But, with people increasingly more selective about who they interact with and via which platforms, employing these strategies in 2019 will be more important than ever before.
Author: Editorial team Future. Customer