How To Use Social Media As An Effective Customer Service Tool

 In Be The Leader, Create Loyalty, Customer Experience, Marketing Plan, Social Media

The Background

It’s no secret that social media is an easy way to grow your brand identity and instantly reach your customers (and potential customers). But many retailers, restaurants, and other service providers have begun using social media as a way to instantly react to customer service issues.

25 years ago, if a customer had a complaint, they would call the company’s customer service hotline. Maybe they spoke to the customer service supervisor, or maybe they just left a message, got no response, and eventually forgot about it. Or, maybe they wrote a letter detailing their poor customer service experience, mailed it to the headquarters, and just waited. Did anyone ever open it? The customer might never know.

However, today, most tech-savvy customers are aware that companies big and small have someone in charge of their social media output. SOMEONE is there on the other end of the tweet or post.

Plus, these customers are used to instant gratification – if they post a new photo on Instagram, their friends like it within minutes. If they respond to a comment on Facebook, they might get a notification instantly that someone else responded or liked their comment.

What does this mean for your company? It means that these customers want their complaints to be heard, and they want them to be heard right now.

While “right now” might not be feasible for your company, you wouldn’t ignore a customer complaint face to face, so don’t ignore your virtual customers. Doing so might add fuel to the fire of a disgruntled customer, encouraging them to continue posting negative things about your company on your social media pages, or on other websites until you respond.

But how are you to respond? That’s where we come in.

Top Tips For Managing Social Customer Service Issues:

1. Assign one person (or a team of people, depending on the size of your company) to manage / respond to tweets or posts pertaining to customer service issues. It would make sense that this person also manage your social media accounts, since they will have the most up to date information on comments, posts, etc.

2. Develop a strategy for dealing with dissatisfied customers. What can you offer them? 10% off their next visit? A gift card for them to “try you out” again? Regardless of your strategy, ensure that your social media team runs the “We’re Sorry” promises by management before extending them to the customer.

3. Reply publicly. Other customers will see this, and take in that you have acknowledged their fellow customer’s complaint. If possible, try to respond as quickly as possible (within the same business day). Many customers expect that you will respond within 2 hours. If you can achieve that, great! If not, strive for 8 hours or less.

4. Get the details privately. In your public response, ask the customer to direct message you their email address so that you can resolve the issue with them that way. By communicating with the customer directly, you will gain more insight into the specifics of the incident, and allow yourself (read: your company) privacy in dealing with a dissatisfied customer.

UPS Twitter

5. Don’t limit yourself to Facebook and Twitter. Become active on other review sites, such as Yelp and TripAdvisor. You can even go one step further and set up GoogleAlerts for your business – so you can see where and when your company is being discussed online.

6. Remember: while it may seem overwhelming to manage another aspect of social media for your business, the worst thing you can do is nothing at all.

Have you had success using social media as a channel to resolve customer service issues? Or, have you experienced great customer service as a customer through social media?

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