Social media customer service presents a unique challenge to businesses of all sizes. Through social channels, consumers have endless opportunities to share their experiences with and perceptions of a brand, and those companies are expected to acknowledge and respond to these conversations quickly.
Today, consumers use more than just words to share their feelings online. Emojis and have become a natural part of consumer language, which means brands have to adapt their social media customer service strategies accordingly.
The rise of the emoji
“Emoji” is a Japanese word derived from the word “picture character” that describes the small images people use today to convey emotions. According to research conducted by Emogi, 92 percent of the online population now uses emojis.
While these characters are often used in private conversations using the emoji keyboards that exist on smartphones, they are also heavily used across social media channels. For example, Emogi found nearly half of Instagram text contains emojis, and Facebook recently launched its own emoji feature, “Facebook Reactions,” which allows users to attach an emotion to their own posts and responses to other people’s posts.
“‘Emoji’ is a Japanese word derived from the word “picture character”
Addressing emotions on social media
We already know the importance of developing a fast, agile social media customer service strategy. For example, research from JD Power found 67 percent of consumers leverage social media networks for customer service. One of the elements of a successful customer service program today is to be present and accessible wherever and however customers want to voice their concerns.
With the rise of emojis and their growing importance on social media, brands also need to be prepared to understand customer emotions and respond to them in an appropriate manner. As more consumers use emojis to emphasize their complaints on social media platforms, the impact of those negative statements is greater.
Consider a man who is frustrated with his wireless service provider. In the past, he would post a lengthy response to the company’s Facebook page and hope for a response. Now, anyone who visits the brand’s Facebook page can see from the use of an emoji that the sentiment is negative without even needing to read the comment. This means brands face a heightened urgency to respond to customer needs to shift consumer sentiment quickly.
The value of understanding sentiment
Social media customer service isn’t just about receiving and responding to complaints. Brands that are active on social media have a tremendous opportunity to understand their customers better, optimize their customer service strategies and make larger improvements to their product or service.
On the one hand, emojis have offered customers a new tool to express their joy or frustration with a brand, which presents real challenges to many businesses. On the other hand, emojis present a prime opportunity for brands to focus their strategies on analyzing sentiment quickly across multiple platforms. By understanding and connecting with their consumers, businesses are able to better focus on customer needs and gain greater insight into perceptions of their brand.
Emojis have changed the way people communicate online, and successful brands will follow suit. This means a better understanding how a consumer feels, responding with his or her language, and making strategic business changes that are based on customer needs.