By Victor Miller
Customer service is one of the primary drivers of customer experience and satisfaction, but it also influences and affects every aspect of a modern brand. From boosting revenue through increased sales via new and repeat business, all the way to managing the brand’s reputation, meeting customer expectations, and more, the work your customer service agents do can make or break your business in the long run. And nowadays, social media has become a primary platform for customer service, next to email and phone communication.
Integrating customer service into your social media management strategy is one of the best ways to build your brand’s reputation in the SM world, boost social selling, and stay in control of your brand’s long-term reputation management. If nothing else, the modern customer wants to communicate with their brands directly on relevant SM channels, so you better make sure you’re there to answer every message, comment, and review.
With all of this in mind, here are the best ways to use social media to perfect the art of customer service.
1. Understand that Response Speed Is of Vital Importance
First and foremost, let’s talk about response speed. Your ability to respond promptly to all customer queries on social media will greatly influence your brand’s reputation and general opinion the social media audience has of your brand. After all, if you’re not there to communicate with your followers, why should they trust you, buy from you, or ever become your loyal brand members?
Recent research has concluded that as much as 42% of social media customers expect to get a response from their brands within the hour. Some customers want you to respond right away, and others are fine with you taking your sweet time – but patience is a feeble thing. The longer you take to respond, the higher the chances of customers siding with your competitors, simply because you’re not showing them how much you value their business. Reply to all SM messages and inquiries within the hour, and you will take your customer service up a notch.
2. Resolve Issues Publicly and Privately
As an experienced business leader, you need to train and educate your customer service agents on the proper ways to handle every public comment, positive and negative opinions alike. Your agents and social media managers need to know when a situation requires a shift to a more private conversation in order to resolve the issue, and when you can safely address the problem publicly. Remember that customers will almost always side with the individual instead of your brand, so you need to be careful.
Addressing negative comments publicly without a plan or a clear goal in mind is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, one that can take a toll on your brand’s reputation. What’s more, it’s important to discern between comments you need to address, and those that should be left alone.
Never give into social media “trolls” who just want to spark an emotional reaction and jeopardize your brand, instead, analyze every comment, and choose to resolve the issue privately or publicly. If you choose to go to private chat, be sure to post a success story later on to tell the public how you’ve resolved that customer’s issue.
3. Monitor the Social Media Buzz
In the modern social media world, it’s important to stay in the know at all times. This is a global, mass media channel where people are talking about your brand and exchanging ideas and opinions on a daily basis – which makes it that much more important to listen in on the SM chatter. This is why timely social media monitoring and reporting has become so important nowadays, as it allows you to adapt your entire customer service strategy on the go and according to the latest shifts in the industry.
Monitoring when, how, why, where, and who talks about your brand is invaluable information you can use to stay in control of your brand’s reputation, shape the mindsets of your customers, and thus stay ahead of the competition. Monitor the chatter across all social media channels, and be sure to act on the insights quickly in order to take your customer service to the next level.
4. Be Active on All SM Platforms
Being present 24/7 on a single social media platform won’t cut it. In fact, it will send the wrong message to your other followers – telling them that you favor one audience over the other, and that you prioritize your social media accounts. While it is true that your small business should implement social media wisely, and allocate its resources in a cost-effective way, it’s important that you remain active on all of your channels at all times. It might require more effort, but the rewards will be worth it.
Now, being active is not just about communicating with your followers via direct messaging, it’s also about responding to all comments, questions, and of course, feedback. Responding to reviews and feedback is especially important nowadays, as it allows you to, again, stay in control, but also build your brand’s social proof. No matter if the review is positive or negative, don’t leave it unanswered. Thank every customer for the praise, and try to turn every negative review into a positive one.
5. Personalize Every Conversation
On a final note, remember that personalization is one of the key drivers of every successful digital marketing strategy. When it comes to social media and customer service, it has the power to attract or completely alienate your customers depending on how you use it. Your customer service agents should portray your brand’s personality and identity in every interaction and conversation, but also address customers by their name, all the while getting to know them and tailoring the experience to their unique sensibilities. It’s a complex process, yes, but emphasizing personalization will make all the difference in how your customers see your brand.
Customer service is a part of an omni-channel communication strategy, and one of the crucial channels is social media. Implement these tips into your social media strategy, and you will have no problem taking your customer service to the next level, and thus elevating your brand’s position in the industry.