With 2020 just around the corner, we’d be shocked to hear of a successful brand that still doesn’t understand the importance of social customer service.
Over the past 10 years as brands have developed a strong presence on social media platforms, it has become normal for consumers to use these channels to reach out to brands and seek help when they have queries, issues or concerns.
This still feels uncomfortable to many brands, and while brands could attempt to redirect consumers to their preferred customer service channels, the best way to ensure customer satisfaction is by meeting consumers where they are.
In other words, if a customer makes the effort to contact a brand by means of social media, they expect a response. If the brand responds quickly and treats them well, they’ll win that consumer’s loyalty. If they ignore them, or treat them badly, they might lose them forever.
In the West, top channels for social customer service include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram whereas in China the main platform consumers use is WeChat.
In this article you will learn:
- The benefits of using WeChat for customer support
- How customer service works on WeChat
- Best practices for delivering customer satisfaction on WeChat
The Benefits Of Using WeChat For Customer Support
The use of social media for customer service is even more important in China than in Western countries because Chinese consumers rarely visit brand .com websites or use email - two common customer service channels in the West.
But there are many social media platforms in China. Why is WeChat the best for customer support?
In this digital day and age, people are looking for fast and convenient solutions to their problems. According to its parent company Tencent, WeChat has over 1.1 billion monthly active users and over 50% of those users use WeChat for at least 90 minutes a day.
Offering WeChat as a communication channel provides great accessibility as they can stay within the app they use most often.
2. BUILDS TRUST
Responding to users in a chat setting makes it easier for brands to build trust with consumers, and this is especially true of WeChat, a platform they regularly use to communicate with friends and family.
In WeChat, the conversation between the customer service agent and the consumer is private, and this one-to-one communication allows users to feel important and valued by the brand.
It’s also a huge benefit to the brand. On a platform like Twitter, the conversation between the brand and the customer is out in the open for anyone to see, making it very easy and common for bad situations to escalate and become PR nightmares. Not so on WeChat, where the interactions are not visible to the public.
3. CONVERSION & RETENTION
One major benefit of using WeChat is that, if consumers want to message a brand, they must first follow that brand’s Official Account. This allows the brand to maintain contact with that user and convert leads into customers or build loyalty with existing customers -- given that they receive satisfactory service.
Brands are also able to track user actions within their WeChat properties (Official Accounts and mini programs) which allows them to get a 360 view of the customer and retarget them with relevant content and promotions.
And if the brand has an e-commerce store on WeChat, the agent can even lead consumers right to a product’s purchase page while answering their questions.
How Customer Service Works On Wechat
Step one is to get the brand account verified. Tencent only allows verified accounts to use the customer support function provided by the WeChat backend. Once the account is verified, it takes three clicks to enable the customer support.
After customer support has been enabled, brands can bind up to 100 customer service agents to one account.
It's important to note that there are some limitations. For example, customer service agents can only reply to users within the first 48 hours after the user has made contact and they will not receive any notifications when a user sends a message.
If a brand is already using a global enterprise platform to manage customer service chats across multiple channels, they can easily integrate it with WeChat live agent by utilizing a platform such as Chatly.
For enterprise level international brands, having a globally unified customer service system allows for a more comprehensive and holistic data analysis. Oftentimes, these platforms also provide a customized dashboard to track the KPIs the brand deems most valuable such as time to close a case or average response time
Best Practices For Delivering Customer Satisfaction On WeChat
1. MAKE CUSTOMER SERVICE EASY TO FIND
When designing their microsite menu and welcome message, it's important for brands to make customer service easy to find. Don’t bury it in a random menu as an afterthought or give it the menu button an unusual name.
2. BE FAST
Fast response time is an important component of great customer service. Brands should utilize WeChat’s autoresponder function to lighten the load of their customer service agents and provide speedy replies for frequently asked questions. They can also create template messages that customer service reps can use to respond to common questions with one click.
3. USE CHATBOTS
Brands can also integrate custom chatbots built for their specific industry. For example, a financial industry chatbot would include functions specific for stock price inquiries, checking account balances, and more.
Entry into TD Ameritrade’s MP, prompted with one-click user info grab API, welcome message introducing services of this MP
Menu bar options specific for financial services e.g. opening account, stock price, account information
Market update with engaging UI and related information options as a convenient UX
However, brands should not rely solely on chatbots since 71% of consumers claim they would be less likely to use a brand if they knew human agents weren’t available.
4. BE PROACTIVE
Automated template messages that notify customers about shipping statuses, membership points, order confirmations and more are a great way for brands to provide value and personalized information to their customers while also lessening the workload of their customer service reps.
This type of message can be sent outside of the 48-hour window without any action from the customer. Brands should make sure to add relevant links within these messages so users who want more information can be redirected to appropriate resources/sites. Template messages can open the 48 hour window of engagement if they’re clicked.
Brands who have Official Accounts on WeChat must consider how to handle social customer service. Service Official Accounts are called service accounts for a reason and Chinese consumers expect that if they message a brand, they will receive a prompt response. When used correctly, autoresponders, template messages and chatbots can lighten the customer service team’s load and increase customer satisfaction.