#BeTactical: Why you need and how to to provide great customer service via social media, Tactical Social Media

Customer Service Via Social Media

We came across a very good article by +Brandwatch on this very topic we wanted to share (and highly recommend you give it a read:

How to Provide Great Customer Service Via Social Media

#BeTactical: Why you need and how to to provide great customer service via social mediaWhy you should be offering social care

Response time expectations:  Customers want answers right.   They don’t want to wait 24 hours for their email to be read.  Nor do they want to wait on hold for 30 minutes.  Social Media has the ability to provide real-time and faster response rates.

Like it or not, people talk about you:  It’s where your customers are mentioning you and discussing, complimenting or criticizing your brand.  They’ll also likely attempt to contact you through social sites which leads to……

Avoid unpleasant actions:  “….most customers (74%) believe that if they take to social media to criticize a brand, this leads to better customer service.”

#BeTactical: Your customers are using social sites for customer service.  Shouldn’t you be there to address those comments?

Loyal customers spend more:  “But just as social media gives dissatisfied customers a bigger voice, so too does it give retailers an opportunity to not just diminish problems, but turn a disgruntled customer into an even more loyal one.”

A perfect, real world example of this can be found in the article by Robert Nissenbaum on Social Media Today: Handling the Negative Social Media Post

Best practices for great customer service via social media

Humanize your brand:  Great point.  “….the key to delivering great customer service on social media is to be speedy, personal and empathetic in your response.”

Respond in a timely manner:  This goes back customer response time expectations mentioned above.  Failing to respond quickly means more negative publicity and a more irate customer.  At the very least, delayed responses mean less chance of turning that negative review into a positive result.

#BeTactical: Have a monitoring plan in place to catch mentions and reviews as they occur.*

Choose the right avenue of communication:  #BeTactical: Addressing customer service via social media is great as a tool for others to see how you  issues when they arise but…. “there are occasions where a conversation should remain private.”  You need to know when the conversation should remain or be shifted off social sites.

This also involves knowing WHEN to shift the avenue of communication.  Nothing is worse than making a bad situation worse and doing so publicly.   For the real world example in the article on Social Media today, the customer was addressed on her public post, handled privately (via the polite request to call her), then resumed publicly for the thank you.

Respond appropriately:  How you respond (and you should respond to EVERY mention and review good or bad) can say more about your brand than the initial posting.

*Set up alerts, listen and speak their language:  If responding timely is critical to handle customer service issues on social sites, you MUST have a monitoring plan in place.  Without it you may never realize you have an issue or could far too late to help.  Failure to acknowledge the issue at all further creates a bigger issue – not only didn’t you resolve the problem, you didn’t care to respond to it.

Make helpful suggestions & point back to your brand:  We love this!!

  • “If you can’t provide a 24 hour customer service, make sure your social media profiles state your operating hours clearly.
  • List your company’s other contact channels and link back to the different social accounts for different regions where possible.
  • Where possible and relevant, you can also include links to your website, research and other content to provide more detailed information.”

Social media channels offer small businesses a means to gain exposure they simply couldn’t afford through traditional avenues.  It’s the customer service role social media plays, however, that may just be the best source of ROI.  From providing support to resolving issues creating happy, loyal customers to just being available when needed, social care can have a significant impact in the bottom line.

Your Turn

Are you handling your customer service via social media?  Have you found it effective?  Do you have a monitoring plan in place to keep up with mentions and posted reviews?

I’d love your hear your thoughts.  You can comment below or you can find this discussion and comment on Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook or simply Tweet your thoughts!

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If you don’t have a monitoring plan in place,  aren’t monitoring your customer service via social media or if you need help crafting responses to issues, we need to talk.  Contact us today to schedule a consultation.  If you’re in the Greater Seattle or South Sound Areas, we’d love to buy you a good cup of coffee.

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