Commendable customer service is a vital component in the success of a business. It is one of the main reasons why customers keep coming back to avail of your product or service. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have grown to become more than emergent platforms for marketing and advertising. They are also considered as valid and essential channels through which consumers solicit and receive customer service. Nearly half of US consumers use social media for their inquiries, report satisfaction, or even send complaints — and a third of social media users prefer “social care” to the phone.

Social media allows direct interaction, which makes it easier for businesses to reach out to their customers and demonstrate their customer service prowess. The reality is that customer service expectations are rising year over year and consumers are looking to brands to create a seamless experience that spans the showroom floor to the Facebook timeline. Simply having a social media presence is no longer enough; you need to be a social media rockstar.

Below are some of best practices on how you can provide great customer service through social media, whether you’re just getting started or taking your social care to the next level.

Be Where Your Customers Are

One of the first challenges to providing great customer service over social media is determining where to focus time and resources. While marketing efforts may drive traffic to targeted social sites, customer service teams must meet their customers where they’re already socializing. For most companies, Facebook and Twitter will be the primary focus for social care, but some brands may find that their customers also frequent Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, or other social sites.

To determine where your customers are, search for mentions of your brand in popular social sites. Whether this is a first step toward creating a social media presence, or something your marketing department has already done, it is a mistake to leave dialogue about your brand solely to online commenters and the Google search algorithm.

If you find that customers aren’t yet talking about your brand online, look for ways to include yourself in conversations relevant to your industry. The way to be welcomed into social conversations is to add something of value.

This is because the consumer — not the brand — wields the most power over a brand’s name in social media. The bottom line is that neglecting conversations that happen on sites like Facebook and Twitter can have staggering consequences.

Listen to What Your Customers Have to Say

Many marketers are already familiar with social media monitoring tools that automate the process of searching for mentions of a brand name, or combing social media pages for specific keywords, but listening is just as important from a customer service perspective. What’s more, many customers already believe that you are. Depending on how much volume your brand’s social media pages generate, it’s important to collect and analyze customer activity so that you understand the kind of issues being raised over social media. Smaller companies may need to collect a week or month’s worth of activity while larger companies can probably take a pulse over a shorter period of time.

There are tools that automate the process of calculating volume and time, and can generate reports to provide you with a complete picture of customer demand. You may learn, for example, that the hours your customers are most active in social media do not align with your actual support hours.

Track and Manage Volume

Depending on the volume of social interactions your brand generates, as well as the size of your staff, your ability to keep track of social inquiries (and your responses) may be made easier by a customer service platform that can integrate with social media and turn posts, tweets, and direct or private messages into tickets. In this way, you can easily track and escalate issues behind the scenes, yet still respond to the customer in the space where they have contacted you.

As a best practice, it’s not necessarily wise to simply turn every social media mention into a ticket, either because your company’s social media pages are very heavily trafficked that the volume becomes unwieldy, or because every interaction does not require a response (sometimes customers are perfectly adept at responding to each other). Still, what an integrated, multi-channel customer service platform can provide is context. The more you can see about a customer’s history, the better. In the fast-paced world of social media, speed of response is critical. Treating social media tickets like any standard ticket isn’t going to be enough because customers expect a faster response.

Regular monitoring of your company’s social media pages combined with savvy use of the sites can elevate your customer service efforts from acceptable to exceptional. The better your social care, the more social traffic you will expect, and this is a good thing for your business and your staff.

Tags: ,

This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 6:31:51 AM and is filed under Mixellaneous.

Leave a Response