27 Mar Customer Service Through Social Media
It wasn’t that long ago that you called or even wrote a letter to address an issue that needed to be rectified with a business. Whether you contacted them to complain or to thank them for their service, both of these channels were viable contact points, but the response time could vary and there was significant effort put forth by the customer to contact the business. In today’s internet-driven world, businesses have lost control over the customer; it only takes one disgruntled customer on Twitter or Facebook to damage your brand image.
The whole point of social media is to encourage interaction and communication. We all know that if used effectively, it can be a great promotional tool to increase brand awareness and showcase your business, but users have become used to getting answers and feedback within hours of posting. Most customers don’t have the time or inclination to phone your business and wait to speak to someone when they can quickly contact you publicly on your Facebook wall or @mention you in a Tweet.
It’s important to listen to what is being said about your brand online. You can set up google alerts to receive updates in your email inbox with mentions of your business online. That way you can address issues and promote posts that highlight your business.
Make social media work for you
Social media is the most transparent communication method as all questions and answers are personalized and public. Here are a few things to remember about conducting customer service through social media:
1. Be there for customers when they need you, respond quickly and don’t make people wait for each answer.
2. Provoke interactions and build relations–if someone pays your business a compliment through social media thank them with a re-tweet or a short message.
3. Be honest and acknowledge your mistakes, show customers you deserve to be trusted.
Another thing to remember is that deleting negative comments and complains gets you nowhere – it does not solve the problem of an unhappy person and if it is seen by the community, it will unleash a storm of criticism. Try to respond and help that person instead, no matter how angry he or she got. You might also be tempted to resolve inquiries that come in over social media offline, by phone or by email, but again transparency is important. Do everything you can to resolve an issue over whichever channel they reach out.
Train your staff
You never know who on your team you might need to handle social media at some point. During a crisis or heavy customer service times, you might need everyone helping out. Don’t assume that someone who deals with customers in person and over the phone will know what to do over social media. Some people who are really great at customer service might not necessarily understand a company’s voice on social media.
As social media continues to grow, it is really important for businesses to accept the fact that consumers will turn to online channels to either complain about service issues and in many cases praise you. It’s very easy for your customers to go elsewhere if you fail here, so unless you get this point of your customer journey right whatever you achieve with your social media marketing can be damaged by your lack of care.
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