Social media is widely interpreted as and used for marketing purposes, particularly lead generation and customer retention. However, it can entail much more than that, especially in regards to customer service. It has evolved from something fun and engaging into something a little more HR related, yet legitimate, customer service tool. After all, anyone can say anything on social media, and anyone can see what someone else says, so why wouldn’t your customers seek your assistance via these channels? Here are some way you can make the most out of utilizing customer service over social media.
- Promote your positive customer reviews. It’s easy to let good reviews (and even bad reviews) linger on your social sites without acknowledging them. Most business owners simply interact with these reviews, by liking or commenting them. However, what you should be doing is promoting it. American Airlines recently launched an ad campaign that praises its passengers. Share it with your customers, highlight the customer that shared the positive review, and praise them for their feedback.
- Humanize the conversations you have with the people communicating with you. This is especially important for complaints. Many businesses feel the need to respond to complaints with canned and robotic responses. You don’t necessarily need to respond with an intensive apologetic comment either. Sometimes we need to laugh at ourselves and make a joke out of something small. Skyscanner recently did this with a response to a complaint that went viral.
- Be timely with your responses. Responding to messages received days later not only frustrates your customers, it hinders your professionalism and accountability as a business. To your customers, time is of the essence. If you cannot respond immediately, at least respond within 60 minutes. It’s a difficult level of service to meet, but it’s often one that’s required. However, speed isn’t everything if you cannot resolve an issue, so respond wisely, with the intent of urgency (or expected urgency.)
- Track and manage the volume of comments and complaints. The size of your business will affect your social metrics. For larger companies, much of this might be “noise” or general comments that don’t necessarily require your interaction or engagement. The best way to track your social media is to integrate it with a customer service platform that can automate the process by creating tickets. By doing this, you can easily track and manage the issues your customers are facing.
- Determine when to take a post or tweet offline. Part of sifting through the “noise” and conversations online is knowing when customers require more than a few sentences to fix the issues they are having. Not every social media interaction will be resolved online, so know when to take it offline, and do it in a way that shows to others on social media that you are being proactive. After the issue is resolved offline, head back online and respond to the customer again, thanking them.
Utilizing your social media platforms for customer service is a great way to engage with your customers, maintain customers and even attract new ones. Everyone is online, on a social site, learning about your industry and business. Take your marketing a step further and truly interact with your customers, from a customer service perspective.