While leading social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become the go-to platforms for marketing and promotion, they also emerged as important channels from which brands can have a pulse of what their customers are really thinking and feeling, and provide an easier access to social interaction.
Whatever the social conversations will involve–questions, complaints or praises, brands should prepare themselves to respond in real time through social media. In today’s blog post, we’ll be discussing five tips to guide you in using social media effectively for customer service.
Know where customers hang out
With so many social media sites popping out nowadays, one of the challenges faced by businesses is knowing where to focus their attention and resources on. Customer service teams should determine where their customers are mostly socializing. Many companies are now on Facebook and Twitter as their main platforms but some customers may also be on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and other social media sites.
To know where your customers are, do a simple search in social media sites for any mentions of your company. For example, if you want to monitor mentions of your brand in Twitter, you might want to focus on @reply, mentions and #hashtags. When customers use @reply and mentions to your brand, they obviously expect a response while hashtags are used to categorize tweets and make their tweets searchable in Twitter Search.
Facebook also provides the ability to search for any brand mentions. While you may not know what people are saying about your brand if their account settings are private, any public searches should generate some results.
Remember that old cliche quote: ‘Time is gold’? Yes, it’s meaning still holds true even more so today. When brands are able to connect to their consumers 24/7 on social media, they have the responsibility to provide timely and correct answers.
Every hour or day delay in response could have disastrous effects that can easily be magnified through the viral nature of social media (just like what an angry customer did when he purchased a Sponsored Tweet to complain about the lack of customer service from British Airways when they lost his father’s luggage. His tweet got worldwide attention).
But how timely should brands’ response be? According to Edison Research, 42% of customers expect response from brands within 60 minutes. If you have a staff who monitors your social media sites on a daily basis, responding to customer concerns should be immediate, but if you’re just a one-man team, you might want to set reminders to monitor your accounts on specific times in a day.
Set the right tone
Online-savvy customers will know too well if you’re using scripted or boilerplate responses–it lacks the personality and character that can establish real interaction with them. There’s nothing wrong with injecting extra care and personal touch to each responses.
More often than not, most customers would think that brands are too sales-focused and busy enough to be bothered so the informal tone in social media is a welcome respite for customers and brands to meet and have genuine conversation.
Promote brand advocates
How do you turn happy customers into brand advocates? Typically, people with positive experience with a brand is one major factor that leads to brand advocacy. They can’t be bought and they actively promote brands that they trust.
If you find that there are customers who regularly put in a good word for you, reward them by sending a thank-you note expressing your appreciation for their support or share their story to your company blog.
Keep your customers in the loop
Are you expecting delays in shipment for orders? Moving to a new business address? Promoting a special discount or event for a product? Whatever that is, always update your customers in advance and get ready for any inquiries that they might have.
Social media is more than just a marketing tool; it is an additional platform from which you can provide stellar customer service. Remember that customers are your primary advocates and the biggest source of referrals for future business. When executed well, highly satisfied customers can turn into brand fans that can provide positive word-of-mouth exposure for your brand.
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