Social networks are a ubiquitous tool that people have at their immediate disposal. Social media is used for communication and information as well as sharing private thoughts and feelings. It’s only natural that people go to their Twitter accounts and rant to their followers about your business if you displeased them. Because customers are more likely to share to their networks their negative experiences, utilizing your social storefront as a platform for customer service has become all the more important. Using Facebook and Twitter as a customer service touchpoint, however, doesn’t simply mean having another inbox for receiving customer feedback and messages. Follow these four tips to use social media to improve your customer service.
Do Your Best
Be aware that whatever interaction you do with a customer on any social platform happens in public space. A Tweet will be seen by all followers. A post on Facebook will be seen by all likers. Whatever the customer says to you and whatever your reply is can and will be seen by thousands of others.
If you “seenzone” a customer, that says a lot about how your brand ignores messages and complaints. So always respond. When people attack you, don’t immediately go on the defensive. Always remember that on the Internet, a defensive reaction is always a very negative publicity. React politely and seek to understand what the customer’s issue is and be apologetic. That will say about how you value your customers. Always aim to create good unforgettable experiences.
If you do good by a customer, chances are they will share their experience with others. They’ll take screenshots of your exchange of messages and the service you provided and later on will be sharing it to their networks. That’s one of the great things about using social networks for interaction with customers — it can double as a marketing stunt when a customer issue is handled correctly.
Social networks allow customers to speak directly to the company, eliminating the need of standing in line to speak to a receptionist. And more often than not, a person brings her issue to Facebook or Twitter because she has been severely inconvenienced and is becoming desperate for a resolution to the problem. That person didn’t go to your office. That person didn’t call your hotline. She lobbied her issue on your social account and is demanding resolution. And in this scenario, always be swift. The difference of a few hours and a few minutes of passing before resolution can mean big things to the consumer, and it can only mean good for your public image if it meant good for the customer’s experience. A delayed response can mean a social media fiasco.
Customer service on social media offers consumers unparalleled agency, interaction and convenience. It removes the needs for waiting lines and actual physical transactions. And this benefit should be maximized for effect. Since they came to you on social, a platform that is known for an instantaneous response, brands should aim for the golden window of response time on social – 2-5 hours.
Don’t Send Customers Elsewhere for Support
When a customer sends you a Facebook message, it’s because it’s the most convenient access point for her. When she Tweets, it’s because she wants a response in Twitter. Never send her to dial another hotline for support. Customers want to feel like the interaction is personal, like there’s just one person they need to talk to resolve their issues. Customers don’t enjoy being bounced around different departments and numbers and people, having to explain the issue again and again. Have just one person handle a customer’s account and take care of it from beginning to end. Create a more personal experience by dedicating one individual to understand all the concerns the customer has.
Humanize Your Brand
The key thought in using a social platform for interaction with your customers is to humanize your brand. When you think about it, Facebook profiles are created for humans, and what brings people delight is when a stiff-looking logo reacts very lightly and humanly to whatever they said.
Interact with your customers even if there’s no issue. Be interactive and act like how you would when conversing with other people on the Internet. You will want your customers to feel like they’re talking to an actual person, and that they are being listened to. Doing this will make them feel more comfortable with your brand, knowing that they can speak to someone from your business and that they are appreciated and cared for.
When expanding your customer service to social media, you’re giving the customers the ability to reach you directly and immediately. No lines, no queues, no wait times. And it’s important that you are able to provide that service and interact with them as you would if they went to your store personally.