Before social customer service, the options were pretty grim. You could call a company with a complaint or question, and be run through several different phone menus before reaching a person – if you actually reached a person. You could send off an email, only to get a delayed response, a form response, or an answer rife with marketing jargon that never really assumed responsibility. Over time, we learned that “customer service” could be associated with some form of frustration or unfulfillment.
The potential for achieving customer service through social media channels finally empowered the customer. Customers can expect to reach someone within a short amount of time, knowing that bringing the conversation into a public forum exerts a little pressure.
Social media opens the door for social customer service in a paradigm shift that now affects brand reputation, customer retention, and intent to purchase in a new way.
What we know
- A customer on social media expects a response – often within minutes
- Each mention by a contact can affect brand reputation by the way it’s handled
- Customers will speak positively about brands when mentions have been handled well
- Potential customers will drop purchases when customer service is not handled well.
Eight social media customer service best practices
Social customer service is both a need and an opportunity. By carefully considering what type of service your business should provide, you can create a very healthy social culture. Here’s our take on best practices for providing exemplary service:
- Dedicate resources to social customer service: have a staff that covers social media channels, understands how to solve issues, and will positively reflect the brand.
- Answer mentions as quickly as possible: Customers expect that social customer service will be at the fast pace of social media. They will often thank companies publicly for a quick response.
- Use listening to track brand mentions in different forms: Use both monitoring and listening projects to follow brand mentions in all formats, and stay on top of potential issues.
- Have a process for assigning questions to the appropriate person /department: When questions can’t be answered without additional help, have other departments on board to tackle questions collaboratively.
- Take responsibility: Social media allows you to connect with a customer on a personal level – take the opportunity to take responsibility for any service issues, and help the customer find a solution.
- Be human: Regardless of how many customer service issue you deal with daily, or the limitation of 140 characters, being personable can still shine through and make a difference.
- Solve a problem for the customer instead of directing them elsewhere: Stay with the customer on the channel they used to contact you whenever possible. Don’t add to the frustration that they already took the time to voice.
- Surprise customers with great service: Don’t be anonymous, make a difference! Retain your customers and have a great impact on your brand reputation by surprising them with a quick, easy, helpful solution.
Social customer service gives you a chance to exceed customers’ expectations. When you’re able to look for mentions, assign posts to team members, and engage with your community seamlessly, you create a proactive social customer service environment that reflects well on the brand reputation .