As you may already know, social media allows you to connect with customers and respond to their concerns directly. Sure you have a contact page or chat feature on your website, but today most people are so constantly connected to their social media profiles, they’ll more likely contact you through those channels.
Your audience can gather a good amount of information about your business just by how you engage people online. Because of this, it's important to know how best to connect with them publicly. This is where social media customer service comes into play.
What is Social Media Customer Service?
Social media customer service is what it sounds like: customer service delivered via social media. This differs from traditional online customer service in that it’s more public: Online your customer service is provided via comments or private messages on platforms like Facebook and Twitter versus while traditionally the same service is delivered via the phone or in-person.
However, do note that limited character counts might force you into being more concise, and your service responses can be seen by everyone.
How Businesses WIN with Exceptional Social Media Customer Service
In this age of technology, a good social media customer support strategy will benefit organizations for three main reasons:
- You can make more personal connections: Social media responses can be personalized to the customer’s circumstance, lending a friendly air. You also come across as more authentic when addressing the customer by their first name, introducing yourself, and signing off with your name. People love when there's a human behind the message.
- You're able to cater to your target audience directly: Social media might be the easiest way to reach your audience, for brands advertising to the younger generation. Teenagers likely won’t hunt for your website; you have to find them.
- You can show your brand personality: The air you present to your customers will show them whether they’d be willing to reach out again for future assistance. You have the opportunity to be creative; add some humor and fun to your posts. That's if it's what your audience wants and expects.
11 Rules for Successful Customer Interaction on Social Media
While social media allows many liberties when interacting with customers, there are a few matters to be wary of before setting up a profile and before hitting that "Send" button.
1. Choose the Right Social Platforms
Figure out where your customers are: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Stake your claim where you know they’ll find you.
2. Monitor All Mentions of Your Brand
Whether people directly tag you or the mention is indirect, know what the rumor mill is churning, good or bad.
3. Monitor Mentions of Your Competitors
Did a recent post of theirs go viral? Find out why. Was there any backlash against an advertisement? If so, adjust your tactics accordingly.
4. Be Proactive
Reach out to your customers and ask their opinions; not everybody is confident enough to ask questions, so maybe they’ll respond to you.
5. Be Swift in Your Response to Complaints
Anger festers, so the moment a complaint comes to your attention, address it. Your fast response will show customers that your priority is their happiness, not the sale.
6. Take the Time to Answer Questions
No matter how detailed the directions, customers will appreciate your patience. Sometimes, people need more than an FAQ answer to understand your brand.
7. Be Consistent and Maintain It
The more you post, the more they’ll see, and at the very least your audience will know you’re still around.
8. Repeat and Use the Right Language
Social media is a platform that allows for informality. However, despite limited character space, always sound professional yet friendly.
9. Show Your Brand’s Personality
People scroll through hundreds of posts a day, so make the right impression before your customers swipe their thumb to the next ad.
10. Forget About a Script
Don’t sound like an auto-reply or robot. Leave stock messages behind in favor of a more relaxed, personable air.
11. Utilize Private Messaging
Depending on the extent of the circumstance, contact the concerned customers individually and focus your attention directly on them. Customers will appreciate the active assistance.
Social Media Customer Service Can Make or Break Your Business
There are times you make come across a less than ideal customer situation. No matter how difficult the customer, always remain professional.
Do not ignore a customer complaint in hopes that it will fizzle out. Face it head on, or your audience will think you can’t control your product.
Further, don’t let anger get the best of you, as Pigalle’s chef had. Your audience could lose respect for your brand.Finally, don’t post without proofreading. Spelling and grammar mistakes make your company appear disorganized.
When managed the right way, your social media presence can buoy your brand. Connecting with your audience and staying true to your company’s goals are important to stay in the game. Your profile is about more than your products; you have to engage your people too.
Further Reading: 3 Tips for Creating a Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy