Social media has been a platform for advertising and marketing for companies ever since it surfaced.
67% of consumers have used a company’s social media site for the same service they can get through phone or web site.
Since the majority of the public is now active on at least one social media site, the popularity of social media customer service — or simply put, “social care” — is getting higher each day.
It’s not enough now to be merely present on Facebook, Twitter or other social media by having an automated updater for your account. You need to actually be there and talk to your customers. It’s an important part of developing positive customer experiences.
If you haven’t used your social media account to actually interact with your customers, here’s how you can kickstart your interaction.
1. Make sure your social media account is public and trusted.
Upset consumers want to be heard. Social media is the perfect place for them to get people to hear them. This makes them feel they have power over your brand’s reputation, and they can therefore provide negative reviews of your product should you not give them answers to their complaints.
For companies, make sure your social media account is set to public. Beside encouraging more brand mentions, being transparent in responding to consumers’ complaints means showing your qualities in handling such situations to other potential customers. You are basically killing two birds with one tweet.
In addition, verifying your social media account for an amount of money will ensure your account’s credibility and thus your consumer know that it’s your company’s official account.
2. Respond immediately.
When they are upset or complaining, customers demand responses right away. Waiting 24 hours or being on hold for 30 minutes can send their frustration levels through the roof.
The beauty of social media is it’s (almost) instant. When someone posts to your Facebook page or mentions your company in a tweet, you get a notification within seconds.
However, this may make you slightly more vulnerable. If you are unprepared, it could cost you one way or another. but if you are prepared to deal with what the consumer is complaining about, and you can respond immediately, you will likely get a 5-star review from that customer–or, even better, a recommendation to their friends.
3. Help your customers.
Not receiving complaints to your social media page doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to help your customers. One of the best ways to retain your customers is to show that you care about their problems.
Finding out how to help is easy: consumers either mention the name of your company in their tweets or you can look it up with hashtags and search bars.
Posts about your company aren’t always complaints; some of them are even compliments. Ask consumers how you can help them and show your willingness to help.
Or even better, help right away like this social media guy from Hulu:
The only thing that is worse than getting your complaints ignored is being bailed on by the customer service guy.
If you are receiving a complaint or a request of assistance to your social media, you better commit to helping them rather than disappearing mid-conversation. That’s a solid goodbye to a precious consumer.
Follow up and ensure the problem is solved. It doesn’t matter if you’re only there as the social media admin and know almost nothing technical: the customer is trusting you to help them solve the problem.
You — as the social media guy or gal — are the front line of your company in the internet world.
The admin behind Netflix support here shows us how it’s done.
Still on the track of helping your customer, getting personal with your customer — and by getting personal I mean being his bro or fam or other terms of close friends — is the antidote to your customers’ rants.
Like this tweet exchange between O2 UK and a customer, which is hilarious, yet has much to learn from.
If you’re going to join the horde of social media customer services, here are three things you should do now to get a head start:
1. Resolve issues with your customers through social media. Tread carefully as this can expose your flaws.
2. Respond immediately. Upset customers don’t like waiting.
3. Get personal. Treat your customers as your friend and don’t template your answers.
If you’ve got anything to share about social media customer service you participate in or see, please tell us in the comments below!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community