In this article, Gabe Larsen, VP, Growth, Kustomer, talks about why investing in social commerce as partÂ ofÂ an omnichannel customer experience can pay your company dividends.
Amidst the chaos of 2020 and the rush to digitally transform the business world, we’ve overlooked a crucial element of the overall customer experience â€” omnichannel CX. As the worlds of selling, influencing, and servicing blend together to form the modern social commerce movement, businesses must create a seamless experience that meets the needs of the whole customer or face the consequences.
Social commerce is the latest pandemic-driven trend to catch fire as buyers seek effortless purchasing experiences for a wide variety of goods. For billions of consumers, social commerce has become a lifeline, time saver, and safety net, all wrapped up in one. It provides customers convenience, advice, and contact-less access to everything from medication and fashion, to tools and groceries. While shopping has long been a social experience, new technology and techniques are revolutionizing the experience. More than half of the world now uses social media, with 346 million new users coming online within the last 12 months. And with three billionOpens a new window daily active users on Facebook and two billion on WhatsApp, these and other customer service tools are becoming increasingly important in creating convenient and valuable buying and selling experiences.
At the same time, the rise of social commerce has created complexities for businesses. Today, the line between social media, mobile commerce, and ecommerce is increasingly becoming blurred. What was once just brick-and-mortar and ecommerce is now a much more fluid ecosystem with multiple opportunities for brand interaction. Buyers can seek advice and ask questions about brands and influencers right in the social network. As a result, consumers are setting their customer experience bar higher and higher.
This requires brands across industries to orchestrate stellar, bespoke customer experiences by meeting customers’ needs at every step of the journey. This means being informed and engaged 24/7 and delivering consistent, connected, and fast responses. This connected customer experience isn’t just a win for customers but can dramatically affect a business’ top line and bottom line. More specifically, igniting social commerce through omnichannel customer experience can provide these benefits:
1. Gain Greater Customer Insights
Customer interactions across channels like chat, social media, and forums provide customer information and records. Depending on what you do with it, customer information can provide important insights into how your clients interact with your brand and their different needs across the various channels. Such information can allow you to tweak and improve your customer service practices to better cater to your clients.
2. Influence or Guide the Customer Lifecycle
A connected social customer experience provides a cohesive and simple experience for busy consumers. By bringing consumers, influencers, and brands together in the same app or site to support and advise customers, you can provide valuable guidance throughout the customer journey.
3. Maximize Productivity and Satisfaction of the Customer Service Team
A customer service agent can only attend to one customer at a time on the phone. But by using channels like chat and social messaging, businesses can serve multiple customers at a time. This frees up agents’ time to focus on handling more complex issues and provide a higher level of service to customers.
4. Reduce Churn Rate and Boost Loyalty
With 90%Opens a new window of customers expecting a consistent brand experience across all channels, they don’t want to repeat themselves. In fact, 89%Opens a new window of customers get frustrated and end up churning when asked to repeat their issues to multiple representatives. By contrast, when using an omnichannel customer service approach, there’s no need for customers to repeat themselves because all channels are intertwined. Whether customers are using social media, phone, or chat, information silos are broken down. There is a flow of data between all channels, resulting in a seamless, frictionless customer experience.
5. Decrease Operational Costs
Omnichannel customer service solutions can also contribute to reduced operating costs. With the use of chatbots and AI-enabled tools, brands can harness historical customer data across platforms to address customer inquiries more easily without needing a customer service agent to intervene. Simpler requests can be dealt with in this way, while more complex requests can be diverted to an agent. Social messaging essentially takes on the role of chat on social channels. With social ranked as the second least expensive channel for support interactions, operational costs are further reduced.
6. Keep Customers Happy
Being available on the customer’s preferred channel can play a critical role in keeping customer satisfaction high. As customers continue flocking to social to connect and interact with brands, companies need to be able to access customer history readily to provide expedited service. And with 57% of consumers posting on social after a bad customer service interaction, brands can’t afford to anger their customers.
Investing in social commerce as part of an omnichannel customer service strategy can yield tangible results for your business. Adding social media customer support for complaints can help increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%Opens a new window . In a 2020 reportOpens a new window , PWC found that the number of companies investing in omnichannel experiences jumped from 20% to more than 80%. If you haven’t yet figured out how to tap the power of social commerce as part of a seamless customer experience, there’s no time like the present.