Have you noticed members of your community posting customer service related questions on your Facebook Page? Or perhaps you have now revised your customer service and customer relationship management processes to integrate Twitter as part of your programme.
While many businesses start using social networking platforms to build visibility, awareness and create a community online, even if you had not planned to respond to customer service questions, over time you are likely to get questions or in some case complaints posted online – I am sure you have seen that in the Twitter streams of the people you follow.
So what are consumers' expectations about how you will handle these complaints and what they are looking for when connecting to you in social networks?
Some research undertaken by Lightspeed Research and the IAB in the UK incorporating responses from 1000 consumers may give us some clues.
WHEN ARE PEOPLE LOGGED ON TO SOCIAL NETWORKS
If you decide to develop a community on Facebook, you need to research when people are online and consider posting your content and engaging on the Page when they are more likely to see your updates in their Facebook news feed.
This recent research indicated that many people log in to social networks throughout the day, although 43% check social networks before bed, and one in five check them when they wake up. And women are more likely than men to log on over the lunch period.
And what style of content are consumers looking for in your online advertising and communications? There is no question that competitions and giveaways on Facebook have the potential to build a community. But should we just post jokes and fun status updates?
You certainly need to review what is of interest to your community in your social networking content plan, but you might be surprised that in the research that being chatty and funny is not the feedback the respondents gave.
Instead they are looking for brands to be professional, friendly, creative, respectful and innovative.
When asked how customers normally complain about brands, most will do so on the company’s website (46%), followed by on the phone (26%) then by good old fashioned snail mail.
Forums and Facebook pages were more popular places to lodge a complaint than Twitter.
Though interestingly some 20 per cent of the people included in the research had never made a complaint.
However, once a complaint has been made, consumers are less tolerant of delays in responding to them when they post on social networking sites.
Those who lodged a complaint online expect a brand to get back to them within a day most commonly with the majority of respondents falling in the “within a day” to “within 3 days” window.
Respondents to the survey were more lenient with a complaint lodged on a website, with 27% saying up to 3 days was reasonable, versus only 16% that gave this time period for a complaint on Twitter.
And one in five respondents would expect a response within the hour on Twitter or on Facebook. So it’s critical that you have processes in place to manage your Facebook Page and monitor feedback frequently.
What insights has this given you when managing your communities online? Perhaps now is the time to review your online community guidelines?
Originally published at krishnade.com