We’ve all been there. When a situation or product has frustrated us so much, we’ve tweeted the company to explain our annoyance at the preceding’s. We are in the age of instant public complaint. With responses going ‘viral’ every day, you need to think about how social media has changed customer service.
Though it is scary, it is not all necessarily bad news. Social Media is improving customer relation. Even if it’s going to push it to the limits first. Here are 9 things to consider or implement when it comes to responding to your customers online, so you can provide the best service possible.
It means you can be human
With social media, you can drop the normal scripted approach a little and actually answer somebody like a normal human being. That means you can use humour. You can also show care, honesty and compassion in a genuine way. Without having to offer that ‘one solution fits all’ offering. Argos gained a lot of publicity for tweeting back to a customer using the same street slang about ‘da ps4 tings’. That isn’t to say you should answer all customers as informally. But social media means you can run with an opportunity if you see it.
You can exceed expectations everyday
Social media allows you to exceed expectations for your customers every day, especially when it comes to dealing with complaints. Whether that is getting them loo roll when they are caught short, sending them a pack of chocolate biscuits, or just taking the time to respond, and feel their pain. Tesco is particularly good at this. With its replies to complaints about their two for £2 offer and someone feeling duped out of their bacon, both gaining media attention.
You have the opportunity to make your customers so happy that they openly praise you for it. Meaning more company mentions and more often now ‘going viral’. Though helping your customers out should be incentive enough, being publicly praised is now something else companies with good customer service can look forward to.
A quick response is required
One of the best and worst things about social media is that you can respond quickly. Which is great for sorting out problems quickly and efficiently, but bad, as people have come to expect a quick turnaround. If you can’t get to your computer quickly then it could appear you don’t care, or don’t know how to handle the situation. The best advice is to try and respond in real time. Even if it is to say you have acknowledged their problem and you are working towards a solution.
Follow up is a lot easier
It is a lot easier to follow up when you can reply instantly. For example, the initial customer interaction. You are dealing with someone who has posted a tweet or status in the heat of the moment. Rather than someone who has had to sit on hold for hours, and has wound themselves up more in the process.
Once you have successfully dealt with the complaint, or responded to praise, social media means you can follow up a lot easier to ensure that customer is truly satisfied.
Finding the problems first
You could stop a problem before it even really happens!
In case you haven’t noticed, we British as a nation can love to moan. If someone is moaning about your product, you can step in before they have an actual complaint. You can search your company on any social media account, to see what people are saying. Which is great if you are active all day. However, if you have a number of accounts, or cannot be on social media the whole day, there are a number of tools you can use to monitor your mentions. Hootsuite is one of the easier tools to use. To not only monitor your mentions but also schedule your posts. Mention is another piece of software you can use, that has replaced Google Alerts. Which will track mentions of your company, industry or even your competitors.
Help where they are
If someone complains to you on Facebook, you can actually get back to them on Facebook. If people have reached out to you in a certain way, that usually means it is their preferred way of contact (unless your complaints procedures limits them to one method). Get back to them in the same method, to make your customer happier.
Separate profiles for customer service
You can dedicate a social media account purely to customer service, especially on Twitter. Having separate accounts means you can separate, let’s say, the approach from your marketing team and your customer service team. So marketing’s carefully composed tweets can still be as active and visible as your customer services team’s responses, without the account becoming over-saturated.
Signing on and off the account
If you only run your account for certain hours of the day, like 9 till 5. Make sure you clearly sign on and off. So if anyone does tweet you, they know they may not receive a response until the following day.
It’s also worth mentioning the days and times someone will be responding in your bio.
It encourages more brand mentions
If you have a complaint or comment on social media there are more than likely going to hashtag or mention your company in the tweet, if that begins to gain traction, your company name could be everywhere before you know it.
Brand mentions are great, if the comment is positive, or if you dealt with a complaint or query well. But if someone has posted negatively, or you respond incorrectly, as this clothing company did, multiple mentions are obviously not ideal. Anything that mentions your company can be associated with you, so use common sense and a some politeness when responding, and use the monitoring tools mentioned above to make sure your brand is being perceived well.
You can’t avoid it and hope it goes away; but social media is here, and people may use it to shout about your business, or to shoot it down. You need to be able to have some control over this, and responding is the first step, so take it.
If you think you need a little more help or guidance when it comes to social media, we can help with one to one sessions. Contact us today on 01543 495752 for more information.