Now a common way to engage with businesses, it’s no wonder that many people turn to social media seeking customer service. They see it as a viable way to get answers to their questions, share their experiences, and, ultimately, to be heard.
When it comes to your business specifically, though, is social media a viable way to accomplish those things? If not, it should be! It’s time to put in place a process that will help you deliver the support your customers need and expect. What might such a process look like?
Direct messaging is available on just about every major social network. Yet, some prefer to comment, ask questions, leave reviews, and make complaints publicly. How can you keep tabs on what people are saying and provide customer care?
Online reputation monitoring tools can track all mentions of your brand, products or services. This will enable you to provide support even when you’re not tagged directly. Additionally, it opens the way for you to engage with your audience even when customer service is not outright requested.
For example, imagine that a customer states an issue they had with your product on social media. They don’t tag you in their post nor do they sound as if they’re seeking a solution.
Without social listening, you may never see this post at all. With it, however, you can both see and respond to it, perhaps resolving the issues and earning that person’s loyalty. This is one of several ways social listening can be worthwhile for you.
Is someone raving about how much they love your brand, products, or services? If so, be sure to thank them sincerely, which will increase their brand loyalty and impress online bystanders.
Additionally, if such a happy customer hasn’t left a formal review and you would like them to, don’t hesitate to ask. You might approach it from the angle that such thoughtful, honest reviews help other consumers. You might be surprised at how many will happily write glowing reviews of your business!
What, though, if someone is dissatisfied and says so publicly on social media? You should have a policy in place not only to protect your reputation but also to diffuse such negative situations. In all cases, you should acknowledge complaints respectfully, apologize, and make clear that you are open to resolution and improvement.
However, as you can imagine, it’s not always appropriate to hash out a matter publicly. It’s often best to direct the person to contact you privately so that you can address their concerns without further damage to your reputation and make amends.
For more advice on responding to negative reviews, check out this post.
Here also, a policy can be quite useful. Some questions are general and can be answered publicly without any negative repercussions. If many others could benefit from the answer to a question or your addressing a specific concern, a public answer may be best. If not, then one-on-one assistance could have a greater impact.
For the sake of time, though, you may also choose to direct some to relevant documentation or FAQ’s. When deciding on your process, you should clearly define when which action is appropriate. This includes how you respond to questions or concerns that require additional context or the exchange of personal information. (Of course, these are best handled in private.)
How will you handle matters when you’re approached privately such as through direct messaging?
In some cases, more support may be needed than what you can provide on social. It would be best, then, to direct individuals to contact you or to get the information you need to contact and assist them. In other instances, you may be able to answer questions and address concerns on the spot.
What, though, if your current social media team is busy planning, creating and posting content? They may not have the time and other resources to handle customer support. Especially if you have a high volume of support requests coming in, it’d be wise to create a dedicated support account manned by a dedicated social customer care manager. Then, your core social media team can simply direct people to that account.
Whatever way you choose to go about this, always keep in mind best practices.
The more personable your responses, the better they’re received by your audience. Avoid being stiff and impersonal, which are often a result of using generic templates. While it’s smart to have a rough outline of what you’ll say in certain situations, do your best to personalize your interactions with each person.
Additionally, use this formula: Listen + Acknowledge + Resolve or Nurture. Listen to understand. Acknowledge the feelings and thoughts expressed. Seek the resolution of any issues or nurture the positive perception of your brand. This forms the basis for effective customer service in general and it certainly works well for social media too.
Last but not least, reply quickly. For one thing, this will reinforce positive experiences. However, it will also reduce the chances of unhappy individuals remaining unhappy and/or spreading negative talk about you. In other words, it can promote customer satisfaction and prevent negative word of mouth.
With these best practices in mind, as well as some possible approaches to this form of customer service, you’re ready to provide top-notch support to your audience!