By Catherine Crump
What and Why?
Customer Service is an essential function for any successful business. Good customer service can build trust and brand awareness, as well as reduce problems. Done right it can attract new customers and it has been found that good customer service is more important to consumers than price. With the modern-day business model almost universally requiring a presence on social media, it makes sense that it would have a huge role to play in providing good customer service. This type of customer service has been labeled Social Care.
It has been reported that 90% of customers on social media have used a platform to communicate with a brand. The majority of customers expect to be responded to within 24 hours, but up to 20% believe they should be responded to within the hour. With the conversational nature of social media, it is important to keep an ear to the ground and respond to customers in order to stay viable and have an input on the way your brand is viewed. Common best practices indicate that it is more important to accurately and completely handle the issues than to have a quick response, the best method seems to be a combination of both. Simple questions can be answered more quickly and those requiring more research or explanation should be quickly responded to, even if the resolution takes some time to complete.
Where and How?
The most commonly used platforms for social care as Facebook and Twitter (no surprise there). While these two are the cornerstone platforms, it is important to find out which platforms your customers are using and maintain a presence on those. Some platforms seem better suited for customer service (and marketing), but creative minds are finding ways to utilize some of the lesser used platforms to better their customer service. For example, Pinterest is being used to publish owner/user manual boards, FAQ boards, How To boards, Special Offers boards and Customer boards. Snapchat is being used for social care by allowing customers to send pictures or videos of their problem. Even Instagram, a platform with high numbers of user engagement, is being used for customer service. As previously stated, it is important to find your customers and provide service to them using the platforms they are already using. It is equally as important to make sure that any platform you use can be manned and ready to respond within that 24-hour window that customers are expecting.
There are many ways to shine using social care, but it can go bad too. Social media posts and tweets never go away. Deleting a post or tweet doesn’t always make it go away, which means great care should be given to crafting any message. It might seem that deleting or ignoring negative comments about your business is better than getting into an online battle, but negative comments should always be responded to. Angering and frustrating a customer who is already having a problem is not just bad for that relationship, but also gives a bad impression of your company to prospective customers.
It is important to add the social media component to your overall customer service policy and philosophy. The opportunities presented for building brand trust and enhancing your company’s online reputation are unlimited and with research and good company policy, your social care can build your business. Staying informed about how you are being represented, responding to questions, complaints and issues, and learning from the mistakes of those who’ve posted and tweeted before, should hold you in good online stead going forward.
Photo Credit: Zendesk.com
5 Social Media Hacks for Better Customer Service (Article). (February 16, 2017). Retrieved April 22, 2017 from http://time.com/money/4672443/social-media-hacks-customer-service/
8 Simple Ways to Cut Customer Service Costs (Hint: Use Pinterest) (Article). (March 14, 2014). Retrieved April 23, 2017 from http://www.business2community.com/customer-experience/8-simple-ways-cut-customer-service-costs-hint-use-pinterest-0810147#l8elD5ySilMHl153.97
Customer Service Via Instagram (Article). (n.d.). Retrieved April 23, 2017 from https://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-through-social-media/
How to Provide Witty and Effective Customer Support on Social Media (Article). (March 7, 2017). Retrieved April 22, 2017 from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jimmyrohampton/2017/03/07/how-to-provide-witty-and-effective-customer-support-on-social-media/#1c83f9177dd3
How to Use Social Media for Customer Service (Article). (March 9, 2017). Retrieved April 22, 2017 from http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5917-social-media-customer-service.html
Is the Future of Snapchat Customer Service? (Article). (March 25, 2016) Retrieved April 23, 2017 from https://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2016/03/future-snapchat-customer-service/
Providing Great Customer Service Through Social Media (Article). (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2017 from https://www.zendesk.com/resources/customer-service-through-social-media/