As businesses, and as consumers ourselves, we're used to social media networks being platforms for marketing and advertising. But it's the use of social media for the purpose of customer service that is becoming the main emerging reason people take to social to talk about brands. In fact 67% of consumers have used a company's social media site for servicing, compared with 33% for social marketing.
Consumers now seem to prefer "social care" to other forms of customer service and because of this the expectations surrounding customer service on social media have become high. It's not enough to just have a presence of social media you now need to be a star on social media.
To help you become a social customer service star we've put together a simple 1-2-3 approach to get you started.
Publicly, and as soon as you read the message. If it's an issue they're having, or a complaint, even if you can't resolve it there and then a message to say, 'Message received, let me look into it.' goes along way to ensuring your customers know you care.
There's nothing more annoying than a customer complaint or question that is left by the company for weeks on end before a response, if at all. You can almost guarantee customers that are ignored will not be using that brand in future. It's also good practice to respond to the positive communications too, and even those where they don't message you directly. Look for conversations about your brand that aren't directed at you -- it shows you're paying attention and on the ball. You can do this by using a social media management tools like HootSuite or BrandWatch that help you find mentions and conversations about your company/brand.
Check regularly and reply promptly.
If you need more details from the customer, communicate this and Redirect if you need to get private details or if it's a delicate matter. Demonstrate your commitment to fixing the matter and take it in a positive spirit even if they've ripped you to shreds - e.g. 'thanks for the message, I'm really sorry about this, I'd like to get more info about your order so I can do my best to fix this for you, could you DM/email me with your order number...'
This approach keeps things private but ensures you have a highly visible spirit of dealing with feedback positively and professionally.
Follow up and always show your aim is to fix the problem. Take responsibility to work with the people you need to, to ensure a positive outcome is reached. The brands and companies that get remembered are the ones that get out of their seat and go and talk to other departments.
From the customer's point of view, they're trusting you, the social media guy or gal, to FIX this problem. It's no defence for you to go back to them and say 'another guy in the warehouse didn't fix this when he said he would.' This is a great opportunity to take an unhappy customer and get them back onside so go above and beyond for them.
This example from O2 shows a complaint from a customer about their internet connection that they've written in slang. Rather than ignore it or give a standard reply O2 decided to reply in language similar to the customer which got them thousands of retweets and clearly entertained the customer, whilst at the same time addressing the issue.
By taking this approach O2 have shown their personal approach to customer service and that they have a sense of humour, no doubt retaining a customer for life!
This approach has to be used carefully though so make sure you read the situation correctly before using humour to resolve a situation.
A few other things you can do to make your social customer service shine:
- A simple way to humanise your company/brand is to get your social customer service team to sign off their social communications with customers. This doesn't have to be their full name just something like they're initials so the customer knowns they're dealing with a person.
- Retweet and/or like your customers comments when they're issues have been happily resolved and they take the time to compliment this.
- Remember a complaint placed on a social platform is a chance for you to redeem yourself so take it as that and don't get defensive.
This approach isn't the only thing to get you the title of great social customer service but it's a key starting point. You shouldn't ignore what's being said about you, whether it's bad or good you should respond. Social media is all about communication so make sure you talk back; ask questions and ultimately resolve the issues if it's within your power to do so.