“Help!”- the word that normally precedes a dash to get in touch with customer service. Unfortunately, very few of us end up actually getting what we wanted out of it. It should be a simple and quick process, but instead the endless dial tones and poorly formatted online forms can lead us into a black hole of unhelpfulness.
Luckily for us, social media now exists. With no inconvenient opening hours or long waiting times obstructing conversation, you’re now far more likely to receive a direct response from a company via social media than through more traditional customer service channels.
We’ve put together a few tips to make your social media a source of strong relationships with customers:
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a serious complaint or an opening hours enquiry; contacting customer service can often just seem more trouble than it’s worth.
From tooth-grinding telephone calls to unanswered emails and discarded letters, it’s easy to feel underappreciated by even our favourite brands. Consumers are typically forced onto social channels after traditional channels have let them down. Unlike call centres, social media is accessible 24/7 and therefore more likely to offer direct and immediate support.
According to recent research, 69% of customers believe fast resolution of a problem is vital to good service, making social media customer support invaluable.
It is not enough to be ‘always on’. If you want satisfied customers, you must be perpetually and properly responsive
Whether it’s through a comment or a check in; a tweet or a Pin, the customer wants to be heard and you need to listen. This may seem an overwhelming or exhausting prospect, but there are ways to simplify the process. Using software such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite will help you manage multiple social media accounts so that you can respond to messages and comments in real time.
Customers typically reach brands across an average of 7 social media channels, so make sure you’re maintaining a strong presence on the most important platforms out there.
Social media can feel like a particularly public form of solving customer service. Direct messages come in handy when you feel the need to handle conversations with customers in a less exposed space.
Direct messaging should always be used when discussing confidential information such as account numbers, but it can also help you more generally in getting into greater detail on the customer’s issue.
While direct messages can help build closer relationships with customers, it’s important that you don’t forget the other people with an eye on your channel. Make sure you acknowledge the original comment to publicly demonstrate that you’re on top of things and that concerns don’t go unheard.
Whether you’re behind the counter or in front of it, customer service tends to inspire strong opinions and even strong language.
Whatever the attitude of the consumer - positive or negative - it’s important you remain neutral. If the customer is already frustrated, it’s inadvisable to provoke them further. Don’t forget that throughout these interactions, your current happy customers are watching. 1 in 3 customers will give up on a brand they love after just one bad customer experience, so ensure you’re creating a positive environment, even under pressure.
It’s easy to lose ourselves in the heat of the moment, so try brainstorming some positive stock responses that can be used to improve future conversations.
More than simply a place to connect with family and friends, Social media provides a critical platform (in both senses of the word) for customers to reach out to their favourite brands. Businesses need to step up to this challenge.
If you follow these tips and treat your customers well, you will inspire their loyalty. If they are ignored or treated badly, expect to reap what you sow - they have a platform to shout about their shoddy customer experience, not just to their close friends, but to an infinite audience.
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