Everyone knows how important customer service is to an online business. What many people don’t realize though is that customer service is evolving.
As consumers have become more focused on the internet and social media they expect solutions to their problems just as speedily as they expect a friend to answer a text message.
This of course has led to the use of Facebook by consumers to express dissatisfaction with a brand, to ask questions, or to say something nice about a brand.
That being the case, you, as an online business owner, have to be ready to adapt, and to begin using Facebook for customer support.
In this post you will learn 5 super important tips for customer support on Facebook.
1. Respond Quickly and at Any Time
The first thing you must realize is that the second you have a Facebook page it means that your fans and customers expect quick responses and that they view you as open for business 24/7.
They don’t care if you are in South Africa and they are in Quebec – if there’s a problem, they want answers!
Amazon does a great job of responding quickly to customer questions:
Of course this doesn’t mean that you have to stay awake all night answering questions and responding to comments, but if your business is large enough, you should definitely consider hiring someone to man your Facebook page at night so that you can have full time support available.
If you are a one-man operation, then you should set reminders for yourself throughout the day to make sure that you are consistently checking your Facebook page for new comments and responding to them accordingly.
For example you could have three reminders – one in the morning, one in the afternoon, and one in the evening.
The bottom line is if you don’t respond quickly, your fans will get mad. Taking three days to respond on social media is like taking three months to respond to an email.
2. Use a Management Tool to Stay on Top of Your Game
There are any number of different tools that you can use to make sure you don’t miss a single comment (and to make it easier to respond to them as well).
Here are a few that you should check out:
Mention: This tool is actually an all-around monitoring tool for mentions anywhere on the web, so it might be a good addition to your operations even regardless of Facebook. But, let’s get back to the point.
The beauty of Mention is that it doesn’t just find the mentions of your brand for you, but it actually lets you respond straight from the app! (You can connect your social accounts to the app).
Agorapulse: This tool lets you manage all aspects of your Facebook page and collaborate with your team. Using this dashboard will make it super simple to respond to all your Facebook comments.
Zendesk: If you’re already using this customer support system, then you can actually use it to manage your Facebook page as well! This truly makes it simple to integrate your Facebook customer service with your regular customer service.
By using these tools you can improve your response time and effectiveness, and certainly give your social support a boost!
3. Manage Negative Comments Appropriately
No matter how amazing you, your business, and your products are there will always be negative comments from dissatisfied customers. Which is fine. It’s just part of running a business.
What’s important though is knowing how and when to reply to negative comments – which is why I have developed this formula for responding to comments that I will share with you now:
- Respond directly to the complaint – meaning make sure that your response actually addresses the issue/question of the commenter.
- Use a respectful and courteous tone – even if the commenter is getting aggressive, you must always keep your cool.
- Try to be personable – adding a personal touch to your response can create a connection with the commenter that might actually make them a bit less upset. Even just signing your name at the end your response is a good way to start.
- Acknowledge your mistake – if you messed up, then you should be sure to own up to it. Your customers will appreciate that.
- Double check your grammar and spelling – make sure there are no mistakes before hitting reply.
If you follow this formula (or some variation of it) then you can be sure that you will appropriately address your customer’s concerns.
For example, check out this conversation KLM Airlines had with a customer on Facebook:
All of the issues were addressed (even if the outcome wasn’t exactly positive for the customer), the company did everything it could to provide a swift and appropriate answer.
Sometimes though even following this formula isn’t enough – not because of you, but because you have a customer who just does not want to be helped. All they want to do is talk about how angry they are.
If you run into a customer like this who is constantly commenting on your page in a negative manner and refuses to engage in a dialogue with you then it’s time to block that user.
Obviously this isn’t the ideal road to go down, because you don’t want people to view your brand as bullying, but when necessary, don’t be afraid to take “drastic” measures.
P.S. In case you need an example of how NOT to respond to criticism on Facebook I suggest checking out this article about Amy’s Baking Company – here’s a little preview:
4. Nip it in the Bud When Possible
Sometimes mistakes happen – that could be anything from giving a customer incorrect information to a mass error in shipping which sends the wrong products to the wrong people.
In these cases, the best strategy is transparency. Nip it in the bud as the heading says. You made a mistake, so own up to it, tell your customers what happened, tell them how you will fix it.
By doing this you can prevent your customers from being upset at you even before they get a chance to become upset.
5. Know How to Respond to Compliments
It’s not all bad on Facebook! If you’re good at what you do then you will certainly have some really happy customers that want nothing more than to share with you how happy they are with your service.
So first of all, don’t ignore these posts just because they’re not negative! Your happy fans deserve a thank you too.
Secondly, be sure to look over your responses to these posts as well. You don’t want to get careless here and end up posting a typo, or worse, end up sounding full of yourself.
For example, don’t respond to a comment that says “You guys are the best!” with, “Thanks, we know we are!”
Be gracious and appropriate. You can even add in some humor too!
Facebook + Customer Support = Awesome
Now you know!
Facebook is the ultimate place for customer support, and by following these tips you can really build up your brand loyalty on the biggest social network in the world!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community