The advent of social media has had a huge impact on the customer service industry. Not only can people go directly to companies and get quick feedback on their questions and problems, but they can also call out businesses in a public forum, making it all the more important for their questions to be answered quickly and efficiently.
Here are nine tips on how to offer the most effective customer service on social media. These tips will keep you from wasting time and ensure that your customers are getting their questions answered in a timely manner.
The downfall of many businesses on social media is that no one knows who’s in charge of answering customer queries. Is it the marketing department or the call center’s responsibility? That’s a problem, because it means in all likelihood questions are being ignored or going unanswered. If you don’t think it’s your job to respond to someone on Facebook, you won’t do it, and then that question is hanging around for days without getting a response.
Another benefit of having one person oversee all social media customer service is making your brand’s responses more consistent. You don’t want a customer on Twitter to notice that a customer who complained about the same issue on Facebook got a full refund, while the Twitter customer got a mere 50 percent back.
Years ago, it might take days or even weeks for customer service to answer a question from a customer. These days if you wait more than an hour after someone asks a question on social media, they get twitchy. Studies have shown that people expect very quick turnarounds on questions they ask via Twitter.
Even if they are voicing a complaint, they want to know that a real person has heard their concern and can offer an answer. That’s something they can’t get from an automated phone service, which was the old way of answering many customer complaints.
It can be tempting to try to protect your brand on social media, by pushing away customer complaints or trying to shield your company from criticism. But if you engage in this sort of behavior, you’re also by default dismissing your customers’ complaints without doing anything to fix their problem. Rather than being defensive or going on the offensive, you need to acknowledge that your customer has a problem.
Sometimes customers reach out not to complain or praise but with a concern. In this case, you want to make sure your customer service team knows to address things brought up by the customer even if it’s not a pressing issue or even something that necessarily has to do with your company. Anytime you can provide assistance to the customer, though it’s not technically your area of expertise or service, go that extra mile. You’ll be rewarded with their loyalty.
The GiftWorks team responds in a timely manner to a user who missed out on a free webinar they offered. Even though they’re not making money by offering the webinar, they’re demonstrating brand values by still responding to their question and building anticipation for their future webinars.
Customers also expect their support experience on social channels to ascend that of traditional call support. That means friendlier and personal; timely and convenient. Tools such as Hootsuite allow us to manage multiple social profiles at once, which is ideal for customer support representatives.
Another way to streamline social media support is to have someone who monitors channels and refers complaints/questions to a live chat representative on your site. This is a great way to immediately connect a customer – or potential customer – in a convenient and professional manner.
Snafus happen. Sooner or later your company will run into a problem. It could be as small as a web site glitch or it could be as big as a major recall impacting everyone who’s bought something from your store in the past year. When a crisis like this hits, it’s important to solve the problem, of course, but it’s also important to keep your customers abreast of the developments as you work to find solutions.
Comcast has a Twitter account devoted to addressing technical problems on its networks. The cable and Internet service provider gets lots of tweets about service, and so it makes sense to have someone technically savvy available to answer those questions. When a customer tweets a complaint, the customer care representative can contact that person and find out more about the issue. Sometimes all it takes is a quick reboot or following up with a few more queries to get the problem solved. If it’s a bigger issue, it can then be passed off to an on-site customer support representative, but at least Comcast tried for a quick social media resolution.