However, by a few, I genuinely mean a few.
Take a moment and think of the game changing real time marketing done by brands and try to name a few that really were memorable. Now, take the Oreo “Dunking In
The Dark” tweet from the 2013 Superbowl and remove it from your list. What is left?
Perhaps if you are a real time marketing expert or an avid content connoisseur you can name a long list of great real time marketing campaigns, but for the vast majority, the channel is still in its infancy and for the most parts brands are still fumbling to make it work for their business. Begging the question:
What is the most “real time” opportunity for real time marketing?
What if I was to suggest that the best opportunity isn’t a form of traditional marketing at all? Well that is what I am going to do because I believe bar none that the best opportunity for brands looking to capitalize on real time marketing is for them to implement real time customer service.
Exploring Real Time Customer Service In The Digital Economy
Did you know that 67% of consumers expect a same day response to their social media service requests? And of that group 42% expect a response in one hour and 32% within 30 minutes. Meaning nearly 1/3 of consumers expect to hear from their favorite brands within just 30 minutes.
In a world where consumers are driving technology, could we be entering a society where their expectations are going to demand responsiveness?
Really this shouldn’t be a question at all. While the debate may rage on as to whether or not the customer is always right, we have all come to terms that the customer is always the customer and if we want to keep them buying and advocating for our brands then we need to provide them a good customer experience. And although some of their on demand customer service expectations via social media may be unrealistic and may even be driven by more consumer type products, brands will still have to adapt.
One of the key phrases being used for the new business paradigm is Peer-to-Peer and this is the idea that B2B and B2C are becoming less relevant as our expectations are being set by our universal experiences. A simple example of this as it pertains to service is that we tend to look at our best customer experiences across our entire sample of working with businesses whether professionally for our company or individually as a consumer. In short, a great experience with a Starbucks barista may make us rethink how we engage with a manufacturer or consulting service for our businesses.
This is an excellent reason for businesses of all types to think about service as a real time marketing opportunity.
How Businesses Can Implement Real Time Customer Service To Drive Improved Customer Experience
If we have in fact entered a world where people will recommend brands based on good customer experiences (we have), then isn’t it time that we start looking at customer service more like a marketing channel?
Did you know that 95% of consumers will take action on a bad customer experience and 82% of consumers will eventually defect for the same reason? It is true!
What is even more staggering is that only a fraction of the number of people that defect for customer service reasons defect for product performance reasons. Meaning, it is time to get serious about responsiveness.
Here are a few ways that businesses can get started with real time customer service.
- Create The Channels: Make sure that your customers know all the ways they can reach you. Beyond just traditional phone and email, make real time channels like Twitter and Facebook accessible for customers to express their needs (and pay compliments)
- Set The Expectations: While real time to some extent means to the second, when it comes to service it can be “within a few minutes” and still be seen as real time. If you are going to offer real time service via social channels make sure customers know what to expect in terms of response. (Hint: it should be really fast!)
- Watch The Channels: Having a special twitter handle for service requests is a great idea, however if no one is watching the channel it can become a terrible disaster. Make sure you have a plan for social listening to any locations where you are committing to real time response. In fact the fall out for a company proclaiming real time service that doesn’t perform would probably be exponentially bad. Can you imagine?
- Respond Thoughtfully: Just responding is good. It makes everyone happy to know they are being listened to, however real time customer service works best when those on the other end of the line can actually help. For maximum Make sure you put people on the other end of real time service channels that can jump in and do more than just put the customers in queue.
For most businesses, the most real time opportunity to get more responsive and closer to your customers in the moment may just be in how you serve them. Social channels provide a great opportunity to improve customer experience and be more ready to fix the little issues that can lead to defection. Fast companies will see and act on this trend immediately. Just watch, Tweet and see!