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How Social Media Listening Can Improve Your Customer Service

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Brooke Lynch

social media

Social media has taken over. Far removed from its days as a mere platform for sharing vacation photos, social influences where we shop, what we eat and who we interact with. This level of reach makes it a perfect space for brands to gain attention and interact with customers. And although we continually focus on the rise of influencer marketing and social channel outreach, there is less analysis of the more intricate conversations being held about businesses online.

When an influencer, with their millions of followers, shares a product or experience they’ve had with a brand, it’s highly visible and the impact can be easily measured. Additionally, users that reach out to a brand, through messaging or publicly, can also be effectively identified. But what about the less obvious recognition, or the hidden but meaningful conversations that aren’t directly aimed at your customer service team? 

Discussions like these can hold a vast amount of weight with social media users; they offer a sense of authenticity and meaning that may not be consistent with the more obvious sponsored social media posts.

To better detect these valuable conversations, brands need to incorporate social listening into their customer service strategy. Here’s why:


Be Proactive

According to Hootsuite, social listening is the analysis of online conversations to indicate the relative ‘mood’ of your customers and track sentiment in real-time. It also allows brands to understand the intent behind positive, or negative engagement. When companies are able to identify these messages, that are discussing your brand in a more general sense, they can begin to offer proactive support. 

Deloitte notes that standard discussions of social care focus on managed channels that are controlled by the brand, where engagement is consistently framed by support issues. But social listening goes beyond this reactive approach, it identifies what customers are actually saying about your brand.  

Customers won’t always direct their criticisms or praise to a specific support account; there are plenty of instances where individuals just want to vent -- without seeking real resolution. However, in proactively recognizing these cases, brands can offer valuable insight and work to improve both the customer’s experience and service efforts as a whole. 


Find Brand Advocates 

In listening to customers, brands may be surprised to find some passionate and loyal customers bragging about their company online. This trend is notable on social platforms like TikTok where users often share their favorite products to simply engage with their viewers. 

User-generated content is often talked about when discussing brands on social media platforms, where social media users create content that works to promote a brand or product. However, these posts are often more intentional and can feel like branded content -- but what about the everyday videos or posts that genuinely celebrate a product or brand more passively?

These cases are likely even more prominent now since individuals have increased their online presence; without regular interactions with friends and family, customers may be more inclined to share their favorite brands with followers instead. It can be seen on Instagram with users sharing their new favorite Starbucks drink, urging their followers to go out and try. This smaller-scale advocacy can be identified through social listening, and these individuals’ more genuine and authentic approach can offer much more insight than some public, viral concepts.  


Learn About The Customer Journey

Listening to your customers has obvious benefits; you begin to learn their preferences, their habits, and how they interact with your brand. All of this insight can help you improve your overall customer experience and prepare agents for more successful interactions.

When utilizing social listening, you can further this insight to understand the problems customers are speaking up about, the questions they may be asking, or solutions they may be looking for. This can enhance the way companies engage with customers at each individual touchpoint and work to provide a more integrated, seamless experience.

Social media is inherently based on shared experiences, so identifying moments of confusion or success in the customer journey may work to uncover some common themes. And no company is immune; in a recent viral video an Apple customer shared, in disbelief, that her Airpods actually had a hidden charger in the compact box. After having the product for a month, she lifted up the tab to find the charger -- which prompted a whole host of responses where users shared their shock with the discovery. 

This simple, yet widespread confusion, is probably not something Apple initially considered but it offers insight into their customer, whether they choose to address the design or not. Additionally, the user never tagged the brand, she was simply reacting to share something with her followers, demonstrating the importance of active listening in uncovering these valuable insights.