A recent social media customer service survey by TNS reveals that over half (57%) of consumers head directly online when they have a problem with a brand or product. That figure rises to 71% among 16-25 year old consumers and 65% among 25-34 year olds. The problems and questions of frustrated consumers are being gathered and published all across the web.
The question is: where are the answers coming from? 33% of consumers use on-line forums and chat rooms while 25% have turned to on-line video tutorials (i.e. YouTube), and nearly 20% say they turn to query websites such as Facebook Questions, Yahoo Answers, etc. 11% say they turn to popular related blogs.
Now here’s the problem. When people are facing a question or crisis with a product, they’re looking for quick answers from wherever they feel the best answer is likely to come from. However, more often than not, those answers are nested in forums, community sites, and other 3rd party web properties, among similar complaints and problems. It’s here that brands and products take a reputational beating, and the solutions offered are often off the mark. Technology, software, consumer electronics and telecom industries seem to be the most vulnerable to reputational losses in these web arenas as they report greater losses attributed to support failures than most other industries.
The report concluded, “By creating digital content that solves customers’ common problems and making it widely available online, businesses can significantly reduce customer frustration and be seen as a user-friendly brand while lowering the costs associated with live agent support. When asked what companies could do to improve the customer service experience, 35% of all respondents, including nearly half (48%) of 16-24 year olds, said “post video demonstrations, tutorials and instructions.”
There answer is simple and cost effective, and in fact saves money and increases revenue. By implementing socially enabled product help your giving your product and knowledgebase assets a life on the web. A key consideration when implementing social product help is SEO. You only win the battle for your users if your content is search engine optimized. By giving your documentation and knowledgebase assets a life on the web, you’ll make sure your prospects and customers are getting the best product information from the most credible source, your company.
Next, your social product help software must take your documentation and knowledgebase assets and optimize them with effective search and feedback mechanisms as well as social engagement tools designed specifically around product help. Nothing deepens brand loyalty more than enabling the customer to quickly find highly relevant information that solves their problem and which expands their understanding of your product along the way.
You’ll also need a robust set of analytics tools. These are essential for understanding how your customer uses your product and the kind of information they’re looking for.
To bring it all together, you should make sure that your social product help integrates solidly with your support ticketing system and CRM as well as having the ability to extend into social networks and expand upon existing authoring tools (if any). By doing so, you dramatically improve your customers’ experience with your brand because your company can quickly respond to and engage the customer at a crucial point. Consumer surveys show that effective support experiences are often weighted more heavily than price in the decision to recommend, renew, or buy again.
Implementing social product help is simple and creates a single source of truth about your products and your brand. Think of social product help as an umbrella, encompassing all the ways consumers expect to interact with your brand while protecting your reputation and the customer experience.