4 Tips for Using Social Media for Customer Service
Social media is the first touch point customers often have with your business and often the most convenient way for them to get in touch with you. As a result, it’s crucial to be effective at handling any customer service issues or concerns through social media. This post will give you a heads-up on the key things a business needs to consider before becoming a social media customer service superstar.
We live in a fast-paced world, and the same applies to customer service. In fact, almost half of customers expect a complaint to be responded to within an hour, day or night. Not meeting this expectation has real downsides, like public complaints and recommendations against your company.
While for most businesses it’s not always possible to respond within an hour around the clock, you can still work to resolve underlying issues quickly. Establishing a knowledge base or FAQ page that you can direct individuals to is a great way to quickly tackle questions that you receive often. For trickier problems, ensure that you always have a quick way to communicate with someone on your team who has the answers. This way, you won’t have to keep a customer in limbo for long.
Public or private?
Public criticism comes with the territory of being active on social media. However, just because someone brings up a problem publicly, it doesn’t necessarily need to stay public. Put in place a series of steps that you can follow to ensure that the interaction is taking place in the right environment. For example, if private information needs to be exchanged it’s clear that it should happen over a direct message, or over the phone, but specifically establishing what situations need to be resolved in private will be up to you.
When it is time to transition a customer into private, it’s best to do so naturally. Using features built into the platforms you’re using, like embedding a direct message link in your tweets, and maintaining a positive, friendly tone will keep the transition seamless.
Ensuring that customers feel like they are on the same wavelength as your brand is key. Part of that means having a consistent customer experience on social media. Apart from deciding what complaints should be resolved in public and private, your customer service protocol should include elements that should be included in every interaction. This is especially key when you have more than one person responding to complaints. Things to consider including consistently are the customer’s name and signing off with a representative’s name. Similarly, if you don’t use emojis often, it can be jarring to see a post suddenly chock full of them.
More generally, it’s important to have the tone of your messages on social media remain the same, no matter who you’re interacting with. Remaining helpful, friendly, and true to your brand’s image will create the most positive experience for you customers and for you.
You can never assume that every customer knows the best place to contact you. Often, Twitter handles can be misspelt or @mentions omitted entirely. In fact, brands are mentioned using their Twitter handle only 3% of the time. As a result, in order to avoid complaints, comments, and compliments going unnoticed, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to finding your business mentions.
Identifying the most common misspellings or casual names for your business will allow you to catch most of them. To be safe, make sure to set up automated searches on your social platforms to ensure nobody slips through the cracks. Lots of platforms offer tools to help you set up those searches, like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sparkcentral.
An opportunity not to miss
The incredibly close connection social media allows you to have with your customers can be an incredibly useful tool, even if it can be frustrating to have negatively-charged feedback come in publicly. However, establishing an effective, consistent, and speedy way of resolving your customers’ issues over social media will leave both you and your customers happier in the long term.
This week’s blog is written by our Marketing Assistant Greg Goulanian, who is currently pursuing an Economics degree at the University of Victoria.