Gartner: Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM

Odds are you've heard of Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Kik, Line, or Snapchat. Maybe you’re even an avid user of a few.

With the emergence of yet another form of communication, people are spending more and more of their time in social messaging apps. The Gartner report cites, “eMarketer projects that 2.19 billion consumers will use consumer messaging apps by 2019.” Social messaging apps are quickly becoming another space for businesses to meet customers and exceed support expectations, as well as to explore deeper and sophisticated methods to engage your customers.

Gartner’s report, Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM, offers the top messaging app use cases to learn from, the benefits of consumer messaging apps, and recommendations for businesses, including how to:

  • Increase brand recall with consumer messenger advertisements.
  • Deflect support costs by solving customer issues over consumer messaging applications.
  • Explore ways to generate new business using consumer messaging apps for digital commerce

The full report is no longer available for complimentary download. Read more about this and other Gartner research on the Gartner website.

Gartner: Top Use Cases and Benefits of Consumer Messaging Apps for CRM, J. Sussin, 3 August 2016.

Writing Great Emails to Customers: How Social Media Has Changed the Rules

Leslie O'Flahavan photo

While contact centers are spending lots of energy servicing newer channels, many customers still prefer email. However, social media character limits and the new language of chat are changing our expectations for all types of written communication, even "older" channels like email.

Watch this recorded 45-minute webinar in which Leslie O'Flahavan demystifies the process of writing great email in the age of social service. She discusses how customer expectations for this channel have changed and revisits best practices for writing high quality, brief, responsive email to customers. Learn how to get the best from email, avoid the channel's natural pitfalls, and improve your email service.

How to Provide Great Twitter Customer Service

Much like the great Wizard of Oz, it's not always clear to consumers who, exactly, sits behind the curtain of a brand's Twitter profile, but they believe someone is there. For years companies have been pouring money into marketing and advertising on Twitter and have, effectively, taught customers to turn to the all powerful Tweet to get their questions answered as quickly as possible.

Usage of Twitter for customer service is growing, perhaps more rapidly than any other social channel, but the level and quality of support provided across brands and industries is uneven, and there is clear room for improvement. A March 2013 study by Simply Measured reported that 99 percent of the Interbrand Top 100 brands now have an active Twitter handle, and 30 percent of those brands have dedicated support handles. While it's a promising start, only 10 percent of these brands responded to more than 70 percent of their contacts, and the average response rate overall was 42 percent.

Our tip sheet for providing support through Twitter includes suggestions for:

  • Searching for direct and indirect mentions of your brand
  • Using Twitter to promote other support channels
  • Learning the language and mastering the art of brevity
  • Using features such as direct messaging and lists
  • Hosting a Twitter Chat with your customers
  • and more!

How to Provide Great Facebook Customer Service

Scroll to the bottom to download our white paper "Tips for Providing Great Customer Service on Facebook"

People from all over the world have distinct interactions through Facebook. They can catch up with family members, share photos with friends, and engage with their favorite brands without email or a phone number. Many companies have had to rethink their approach how they handle their Facebook customer service. It's not enough to just have an account on Facebook and claim it as a tech presence, especially when that account is suddenly a hotbed for users to voice an issue or problem.

Companies can't skirt around it by only listing a phone number on their account. Facebook audiences aren't privy to calling a phone number to make themselves heard. It's now too easy to voice an issue or problem on a Page's timeline or through a direct message. The need for Facebook customer service can't be satisfied by encouraging users to call a company's Facebook customer service number.

Consider this: 47% of those surveyed by Edison Research said that Facebook, of all the social networks, had the greatest impact on their purchase behavior. A Facebook Page plays a big part in that. Forcing users to search for a Facebook customer service number, or any phone number for that matter, doesn't make for a positive impact.

With Facebook being the major tech company that it is, there's now plenty of research to help agents with the formidable task of providing great Facebook customer service. We've put together a tip sheet that clues you in to Facebook customer support (beyond just providing a phone number). We've included suggestions for:

  • How to keep agents from overlooking valid support questions posted on your brand's timeline (so they don't have to constantly search for an issue)
  • Utilizing features such as Page Insights, Messenger, and other integral features of Facebook customer support
  • Adding a support app or feedback tab to your page to optimize your Facebook customer service
  • and more!

Of course, you'll still want to provide a Facebook customer service number to go beyond the tech presence (sometimes a phone number and a chat with a support rep can't be beat). Go ahead and list the phone number and contact details, but remember: there's more to utilize with Facebook customer service. Our tip sheet is a great place to get started for providing great Facebook customer service.

Master High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service

With Micah Solomon

Social media, self-service technologies, and smartphones have created a challenging new landscape for businesses when it comes to managing the customer experience and delivering exceptional customer service.

This 1-hour webinar with customer service expert, author, and business keynote speaker, Micah Solomon will teach you how to harness the power of technology to build emotional connections with your customers, while retaining the best of classic service techniques — and, as a result, generate fierce customer loyalty. Micah explains through real-life examples how to implement the eight unbreakable rules of social media customer service (including how to effectively address customer complaints on sites such as Yelp, Twitter and TripAdvisor), as well as how to design compelling self-service options to help today's customers help themselves. This webinar will leave you with tips and tricks that agents and managers alike can put into practice today to deliver best-of-class customer service.

Micah Solomon is a top professional business keynote speaker, bestselling author, customer service and marketing strategist, and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture. He has been termed by the Financial Post a 'new guru of customer service excellence.' An entrepreneur and business leader, he authored the new business bestseller, High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service, as well as the earlier book Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit. His expertise has been featured in Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, CNBC, Forbes.com, and elsewhere, and he created and helms the 'College of the Customer' website.

How to recover from a customer service fiasco

The real-time web has given customers amazing power to vent their issues in a very public and gigantic space. It's why companies such as Comcast launched @ComcastCares, a Twitter channel completely devoted to customer support and, well, customer complaints. Because let's face it, if there's ever an industry that can provoke mass ire it's the cable providers.

These days, it's very easy for customers to get the message out when they feel a company has wronged them. Get a few folks on Twitter, tack on a hashtag to the tune of #thiscompanysucks, and suddenly you're at the center of a nationally trending conversation that could've been easily prevented had you just been prepared. More than ever, companies need to have a strategy in place to prevent minor dust ups from becoming full-blown customer service disasters.

The infographic below offers tips on how to get started.

How to recover from a customer service fiasco

Complaining Ain't Easy

Complaining: your customers are doing it in public forums and they want you to respond. It can seem malicious, and at times it might be. But ignoring them is not the best course of action.

Our latest infographic illustrates how your customers feel about your responsiveness (or lack thereof) to their complaints on social media. 86% of the people who complained about a brand via social media that did not get a response would have appreciated one, and 50% of people said they would be deterred from being a customer if their questions and complaints were ignored on social media.

Complaining Ain't Easy

Why are customers turning to social media?

It's no secret that social media is an important support channel—more that 34% of consumers head to channels like Facebook or Twitter first to resolve support issues. Yet brands are still falling behind when it comes to responsiveness and quick resolution times. In fact, 73% of people have a negative experience with brands on social.

In this infographic, we take a look at how social media is changing customer expectations and experiences. Read on to see how you match up to other brands in the race for customer satisfaction.

To learn more about how Zendesk can help you connect to customers on social, check out Zendesk Message.

Why are customers turning to social media?

The Customer Service and Social Media Revolution

Customer service organizations face increasing amounts of pressure to deliver better service over a broader range of channels including the Web, email, and phone. Customers expect to get service at any time of the day or night and assume that customer service teams will maintain a complete history of all interactions.

More recently, the social network boom has created a new revolution in customer service. The reach and immediacy of Twitter, Facebook and, now, Google+ has made the voice of the customer an extremely powerful force. Bad customer experiences can quickly snowball into online customer uprisings leading to PR disasters.

In addition, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has raised customer expectations for timely response. Customers now expect to reach companies from anywhere, at anytime, and through any device that they choose such as iPads, iPhones, and Blackberry and Android smartphones. While it used to be expected that customer inquiries would be answered in a couple days, now customers expect answers in hours, if not minutes.

As is often the case, tech-savvy startups are the first to embrace new technologies and communication channels. Larger, more traditional organizations are now finding that they need to develop new customer service strategies or else smaller, more nimble organizations may leave them in the dust and take their customers with them.

The exciting part of this ever-changing environment is that these new pressures have lead to both innovation and disruption in customer service.

Customer Service Goes Social

When traditional customer service software was developed, the pressures of supporting new and multiple online channels just didnt exist; the products were never designed to accommodate input from social media or run on mobile devices. As companies using these traditional solutions look to update their customer service software infrastructure to keep up with new channels, many realize that they cannot afford to expend 6-12 months to customize their current help desk solution if it were, indeed, even possible.

As a result, many companies are making the move to cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. These have proven to be the fastest and most cost-effective alternative to updating on-premise packages. More importantly, these new cloud-based solutions are specifically designed for multi-channel customer service.

As an example, lets take a look at Twitter as a channel. Studies by Edison Research have indicated that 19% of Twitter users seek customer service via Tweets. With more than 200 million users, this means 38,000,000 customers are seeking service via Twitter. Modern customer service solutions have made this manageable by allowing companies to create custom searches for their brand names and product names on Twitter. When a problem is encountered, the Tweet can be immediately converted into a customer service ticket, known as a Twicket, in this case. The Twicket then can be assigned to the most appropriate person in the company to respond. That response can then be sent as a Tweet or a direct message.

Customer Service Goes Mobile

On the hardware side, customers and employees do more and more on mobile devices than ever before. In fact, the mobile revolution seems like an unstoppable force with more than 5.3 billion mobile subscribers worldwide (by the way, thats 77 percent of the worlds population).

Today the mobile consumer and the mobile workforce are rapidly converging. Whether officially sanctioned or not, many customer service employees already make use of their smart phones, iPads, and personal accounts like Twitter and Facebook to solve their customers' problems because these channels make their jobs easier.

Being able to access customer service systems from anywhere frees services teams from their desks. It allows them to respond to and escalate customer inquiries from anyplace at any time. As a result, response times go down and customer satisfaction goes through the roof. Time and time again, we see examples of customers who are delighted to get timely responses from inquiries whether theyre over the web, email, or Twitter. What matters is that youre taking care of the customer faster than ever before. In todays increasingly connected world, that wins customer loyalty and creates a huge competitive advantage.

Multiple Channels, Unified Tools

However, the more customer service channels a company supports, the more challenging it can be to effectively track and respond to customer inquiries. In addition, every new channel has the potential to create confusion for both customer service agents and customers. For example, one customer service agent may respond to a customer via email while another is communicating over Twitter. It can create the classic problem of the right hand not knowing what the left is doing.

To avoid these issues, companies need all their channels to feed into a central help desk with a unified set of business processes. While requests may arrive in different ways, the organization should strive for consistency across channels. This will reduce an overlap of efforts, ensure consistent responses, and simplify the management of the customer service team.

That is exactly how the new generation of help desk solutions are designed. In fact, they can truly provide the fastest way to a great customer experience because they are easy to set up, funnel interactions from multiple channels into a single place, and improve the efficiency of customer service agents.

Conclusion

Todays companies are faced with the challenge of having to deliver customer service across a wide variety of channels such as email, the Web, social media, and mobile devices; its not just about having a call center or FAX machine anymore. By supporting these channels, customer service organization have an amazing opportunity to deliver a truly memorable customer experience with the right processes and tools in place. If the last update you made to your customer service organizations was the addition of a support@ email address, it is probably time to seriously reassess your customer service strategy. Happy customers are loyal customers who not only keep coming back for more, but also spread the word about your company and products.

About Zendesk

Zendesk is the proven cloud-based help desk software that is the fastest way to enable great customer service in rapidly growing companies. Zendesk is so easy to use, it's loved by support teams and their customers worldwide. More than 30,000 organizations including Adobe, MSNBC, Sony, and Groupon, trust Zendesk with their most valuable asset: their customers. Now, organizations can deliver exceptional support across the web, email, and social media.

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