Now more than ever your customers expect to be able to interact with you on social media like they do in person. So much so that it has become another channel for customer service.
A report conducted by Altitude software has shown that out of those who attempt to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 47 per cent expect a response within an hour after contact, while 84 per cent expect to wait no longer than a day.
Because of this, businesses should not be thinking of their social media channels as publishing platforms but also tools for engagement, content sharing and customer service.
Here are five great tips to excel at customer service on social media.
Respond to questions and complaints
Responding to comments, questions and complaints on social media is critical to delivering good customer service. If a customer comments on your profile and you ignore it, they may never comment again, or even unfollow you. If they make a complaint, without your input the situation can quickly escalate and become a much bigger issue.
Be friendly and empathetic
People will be more likely to engage with a business if the business is friendly and empathetic when providing customer service on social media. If your business comes across as negative or rude it could turn into a potential social media crisis and you could lose customers.
Don’t take it personally
When someone does make a complaint or negative comment about your business, don’t take it personally and get offended. Instead use it as an opportunity for feedback and aim to turn the customer’s negative experience into a positive experience.
Take complaints offline
While it is crucial to respond to all comments, positive and negative alike, don’t try to resolve the issue within the public realm of social media. Instead, respond with something along the lines of you are sorry to hear about their experience and offer them the opportunity to take the complaint further by you contacting them directly. This way others can see you are responding, but there is less likelihood that the opportunity will become a bigger issue publically.
Don’t just copy and paste pre-prepared statements
Having pre-prepared statements to common customer issues is good planning, however, they should be used as guidelines only when responding to complaints. Customers who take the time to let you know about a negative experience want to feel like they’ve been heard and if you are just giving them a generic response it is likely to have the opposite effect of placating them.
Customer service principals that you would deliver in-person apply equally to online experiences, even when you can’t physically see the person. In fact, bad customer experiences on social media have the potential to go viral and cause much more damage than just having a disgruntled customer. Delivering good customer service on social media is paramount to protecting your brand and growing sales.
Catriona Pollard is director of CP Communications which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. She is also the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field.