Buffer has brought out a new service: Buffer Reply.
They say it is for customer service. Perfect for how businesses think. Communicate with your customers to find out what they want and then give it to them.
This is very admirable. It is always a good thing for businesses to actually talk to their potential customers so they can help them better.
More than a delivery service
The first thing Buffer says is Buffer Reply enables businesses to respond to social conversations! Yay!
Buffer is a great tool for sharing content in social networks. You upload your post links into the auto responder and these are shared at designated times in the platform of your choice.
But this is a one-way exercise. It is difficult to keep an eye on how these links perform, unless you lurk in a social reader to pounce on any replies that occur.
A social chat inbox
Buffer Reply offers an alternative social inbox to Hootsuite or Tweekdeck. This is linked to their Publish option so businesses can immediately see any social responses to the links placed in social media.
It's important for a business's social team to see in real-time whenever a potential customer responds to a social communication. Buffer Reply allows them to concurrently view Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so they can instantly reply to customers' requests.
Today's customers expects immediate responses, especially within social media. So this kind of social chat reply can be very useful if you want to retain a customer right from the start.
Now Buffer Reply is focused on large organisations who may have different departments that need to communicate effectively for good customers service.
If these areas are tuned into the same system, they can see the requests and hopefully react favourably to them. Once set up correctly, there should be no delay, and the relevant person can reply to the customer through the power of social chat.
So many businesses don't reply instantly to requests made on social media. In some cases I have waited days for a reply. If your business is going to survive, it needs a system where people can immediately view what's happening, and apply the correct response appropriately.
Buffer Reply does rely on businesses who understand the power of social chat. These people relish instantaneous reaction, value social conversation and have a desire to fulfil customer service as quickly as possible.
If done correctly, social chat enables a lot more than just getting a product out to a customer in double quick time. Sure this creates a happy customer, who may advocate the business to their friends. But the business is still missing out.
Social chat allows the business to find out more about their customers. They learn their desires, aspirations, needs and wants. This not only improves the business's customer service system, it also leads onto developing more products customers are wanting to buy.
User Buffer Reply effectively
Here is an opportunity to really communicate with your customers. Show your business isn't just another faceless corporation. Give the impression customers are important and that the business really cares about them.
So without being annoying or spammy, get your social team to ask questions during and after the customer service process. Socially chat with them. This could be a time filler if waiting for a response from a department. Or a method of getting important feedback.
Customers actually like being socially communicated with. It may even make their day! So many businesses are cold and unresponsive, to get one that isn't is a breath of fresh air.
Making social chat accessible
Not every business has a social chat system available on their website. Buffer Reply makes the process much simpler through the power of social media.
Focus on what you publish on social media to encourage customers ask questions. Make them feel like 'natural conversations'. The Buffer Reply mechanism can then monitor these responses and instantly reply. This will put you streets ahead of your competitors.
Buffer Reply does offer automated systems for replies. If you are tempted by this, remember AI doesn't have the sophistication of a real human when it comes to social chat.
Filter out responses
There is always the worry of chat systems you are going to get time wasters. Or people out to cause trouble. We live in a less than satisfactory world, so this could be a daily hassle.
Some companies do suffer from this, so hide their chat box links until after the customer has gone through a FAQ system. This can be very frustrating for a bona fide customer with a real problem.
Buffer Reply say they have a triage system which sorts out requests to the relevant people. Very useful for large businesses with multiple departments. I suggest the FAQ and filter systems should be applied after location of the chat system, not before.
Analyse your feedback
Finally for businesses who value ROI, Buffer Reply analyses how effectively your team have engaged in social chat. You can also see which responses times had the best reaction, which channels perform the best, and even which member of the team has worked the hardest!
Whatever the results, take the feedback from the social chat and put this into action. If customers have asked for variants of your product, produce them. If there have been any less than happy customers, make the necessary amends. Find out what is needed and then solve it.
Without the power of social chat, you will be less likely to find out this extremely important data. Once customers warm to your social team, they could divulge all sort of information which could benefit the company.
Is Buffer Reply worth investigating?
I'm writing this post purely because I recognise Buffer Reply as a source for social chat. I am receiving no commission or whatever for this.
The sooner the business world wakes up to the fact that social conversations are extremely important for customer service, the better. All I can do until then is to talk about it in this blog.
If you have a business that has the means to benefit from Buffer Reply, I would certainly give them a try. As long as you have the right mindset when it comes to social chat, you will succeed.
Let me know in the comment box below what you think of Buffer Reply.