Better Customer Service Through Social Media

Customer service is more than an employee answering phones! With social media, the rules of customer service have changed. Here are 7 ways to provide better customer service through social media.
Answer Questions – In this social media age, more and more people are turning to Twitter and Facebook to get their questions answered and get advice from their friends and peers online. This gives businesses the unique opportunity to jump in and answer a question or provide a solution that includes your company’s products or services! Use Twitter searches or targeted searches on Twitter management applications like Hootsuite to search for questions others are posing and answer as many of those as you can. You can also use LinkedIn to answer questions about a product or service in a professional venue.
Respond to Complaints – When customers get mad, many times the first thing they do is search for the Twitter profile or Facebook account of the company that offended them! As a social media manager for your company, it’s extremely important that you respond to complaints. It’s uncomfortable and sometimes awkward – and the knee-jerk reaction is to sweep the comment under the rug by quickly deleting it – but this reaction isn’t the best route. Honestly and empathetically answer the complaint, and make sure the customer gets a satisfactory answer to his or her problem. If possible, take it offline and get a real person on the phone or via email to assist.
Engage – Customer service isn’t just answering complaints – it’s the attitude you exude to your customers. Use a friendly, welcoming and warm tone in your communications. Bring energy to your social media accounts by engaging your users. Say hello or respond to their “everyday life” tweets. Use hashtags to add some humor and fun into your social media landscape and retweet your followers’ tweets to let them know you’re listening. A friendly tone will help you establish trust with your followers and potential customers, and will let them see they you have their best interests in mind – and it also will help them give you the benefit of the doubt when problems arise.
Provide Tips – Use your Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest accounts to provide helpful tips and tricks for your customers (using your products, service or expertise, of course!) Create tutorials and how-to guides on a company blog and share them through social media. Make sure to use big images with text so your customers can see what your post is all about in one glance. This type of content is not only highly sharable, but it helps establish you as an expert in your industry. Much like engaging, providing helpful, unique information (not just regurgitated sales pitches) will increase the level of trust your customers and potential customers have in your brand – and trust goes hand-in-hand with great customer service. Another bonus is that search engines love fresh content, and links distributed through social media can help with SEO for your website.
Monitor Constantly – Social media management might not be a 24/7 job, but it’s pretty close! Social media accounts should be monitored regularly – at least once a day if not multiple times every day. The more fans or followers you have, the more you’ll need to monitor your accounts. Be aware of things like private or direct messages, pingbacks that should be approved, @ replies and mentions. Don’t rely solely on the notification systems for each of these platforms (Facebook notifications and Twitter @ mention notifications), but integrate other monitoring techniques, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck searches and Google Alerts, to give you a comprehensive view of your brand sentiment on social media so you’ll be able to respond as appropriate.
Respond in a Timely Manner – Don’t leave your fans and followers hanging! It’s not only important to respond, it’s important to respond quickly. Through monitoring, you’ should be able to see messages as soon as they appear, but you should respond as soon as you see them. This applies to positive and negative messages!
About the Author: Steven Burrell has been writing about technology and business solutions for many years. Click here to read more about how employee assessment testing can benefit your business.