Using Social Media for Customer Service

Using Social Media for Customer Service

Social media has greatly evolved over the years. No longer does it serve the primary purpose of lead building or traffic generation, but it has become one of the most important tools of online customer service. Most businesses, however, are not aware of this crucial evolution and simply join social networks in pursuit of the same conventional goals of attracting leads. Because they fail to involve the concept of customer service within social media campaigns, they are unable to deal with customer reviews or queries that are bound to come.

The audience today does not want to wait in a telephonic queue to get issues resolved neither do they want to send emails and wonder when a response will come. For them, social networks are the easiest, most prompt way to lodge a complaint, submit a query or give a suggestion. And if your business fails to give customer support online, you have just created a negative impression for your brand.

So if you’re just getting started on social media, this guide is just for you. We’ll let you know how you can turn your social media accounts into social care platforms and keep your customers 100% satisfied.To change your social media channel into a customer service center, you will first have to understand the challenges faced by your audience. Two of the most commonly frustrating problems customers complain about are:

– Getting a Phone Number and Making a Call: Most of your customers would not want to waste time finding for a number if you don’t already have it listed on your page. And even if they do find it, they’d rather not call and be part of a lengthy process. Calling for information is a matter of the past.

– Form Filling and Emails: Definitely not a good choice because they know all too well, that they are never going to get a prompt response. Again, if left with no other option, this will be a major frustration factor.

 In this fast paced age, no one wants to spend time going through emails and customer support representatives. People want instant information and the one source they turn to for that information is social media. They want to have a tweet or a Facebook post instantly replied to and do not want to wait for hours to get a reply. This claim is supported by a recent fact which states, “14% of Tweets sent to major retail brands are from customers experiencing problems in-store”, and this is just a fraction of people who are tweeting on the go from their smartphones. Imagine the number of people using Facebook or LinkedIn to get in touch with you. So, how can you make social media as the perfect solution? Some practical tips.Just because Facebook is one of the world’s most popular social channels, doesn’t mean you should base all your customer support on it. You will have to explore what other networks are your target audience most active on. Where are they most likely to drop a comment or post a complain? Study all your social platforms carefully – Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and search for the channel that has the most mentions of your brand. Now, if you don’t find much mentions of your brand on any of the channels, then it means time you involve yourself in conversations, group discussions and other social activities to get your name out there. Oh, but please don’t go posting spammy links or promotional items. You have to really provide something that is of conversational value – perhaps, a tip, a lesson, a short guide or anything that can make a reader appreciate your input.

Remember that it is only the customer that can build your brand and so, if you have to get them to vote for, you, a lot needs to be done in terms of socializing, acknowledging their comments and suggestions and connecting with them. In fact, according to a recent stat, “66% of global consumers stopped doing business with a provider and switched to another in the past year due to poor customer service experiences.” “When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company.” (Bain & Company. This stat tells us that we really need to listen to our customers and respond to them. And this doesn’t mean responding only on queries – instead, every time they give you a review or post a suggestion on your page, acknowledge it and if possible implement it.

If you can’t implement it, tell them why you can’t do so. When you respond and give customers a personal brand experience, they are more likely to prefer you over the others. Listening, however, doesn’t mean limiting yourself to merely posting comments or answering questions, but it also means to measure important metrics. Some things to look into are:

– Customer behavior pattern on social media.

– Number of brand mentions received and the subject/tone of those mentions.

– Number of “negative” comments, or those that are written out of sheer frustration.

– Number of spam comments that needs to be blocked. Most of the time, you could get negative comments from a competitor (who is playing a dirty game of ruining your reputation), and so noting that down will help you understand who is a real customer and who’s just faking it.

Knowing this data will help you plan status updates or blog posts (if you have an active blog post) that can answer customer queries or suggestions in detail. Not only will this give you some great traffic, but also portrays your brand as a company that actually cares about its customers.According to stats, “Customers who encounter positive social customer care experiences are nearly 3 times more likely to recommend a brand.” (Harvard Business Review)  “Additionally, 42% of people will tell their friends about a good customer experience on social, while 53% will talk about a bad one. “(American Express Global Customer Service Barometer).

If you have decided to take customer care seriously and you see a rising number of interaction on your page, then it’s important to hire a social media or community management expert to handle your social media for customer service. This person/company should understand your business well and should ideally, be available to handle queries at all times. Customers usually expect a response within a day when posting on social networks and that is considerably generous of them. Your social media expert must however, have the soft skills of a customer service representative and should be able to handle a customer’s response in the best possible manner. Mentions or answers should not be robotic and should have the touch of a real person responding to a query. You have make customers feel that their complains are being heard and someone is actually taking action.

Now when it comes to online reputation, it is always advised to continue the conversation (if needed) through off-line mode; i.e, via emails, FB messenger or by call. Social media should be the stepping stone of the customer service but should not be the place to solve problems. Ideally, the brand should acknowledge the customer’s comment/tweet and move the conversation to a more secure platform. This way, not only can brands protect themselves from unjustified harassment, but can also carry out an effective support process.

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