With social media, businesses have a unique tool to get firsthand insights from customers in an environment which allows them to interact with their audience, ask questions, highlight new products and share information.
However, with this tool can come the potential for massive disaster. Social media is littered with examples of brands and companies that failed to realize the best way to use these channels for customer service and have suffered the consequences. To help, 12 professionals from YEC weigh in on some of the rules businesses should keep in mind when using social media to engage with clients in a customer service setting.
1. Be Genuine, Honest and Prompt
Being genuine, honest and prompt is always important with any brand in today’s social climate. Authenticity is a trait that customers constantly seek and it helps them know that they’re being treated as a priority.
2. Respond as Quickly as Possible
Respond as quickly as possible, especially when you have customer complaints. Seeing any complaints can be a concern if you do not handle them quickly. Reach out with a direct message or respond to the post politely. Never get defensive; apologize and assess the situation before fixing it.
3. Provide All Relevant Information to Employees
Empower the people who are responding to customers to have all the information! Customers who are inquiring are ready to buy right there and then — they don’t want a call back from someone else more qualified. Build your product or service in a way so that it can be sold through Facebook, Instagram or any other platform. Meet your customers where they are and sell them on the spot.
4. Strive to Represent Your Brand Values
Always be accommodating whenever possible and represent the values of your brand in your communication. Moving the conversation onto another platform if it’s a complaint or a negative issue is helpful, as well.
5. Respond to Every Post or Message
At our business, we try to respond to every post, message and comment that contains a question that we get. This is hard to do as we have tens of thousands of group members on Facebook. But because we participate and help people, we also have group members pitching in with their knowledge and ideas. It’s critical to focus on people’s needs and this is one way we cater to what people want.
6. Monitor Customers’ Conversations
We use social media to monitor customers’ conversations concerning our brand. We then use this information to improve our current strategies and solve the pain points they talk about. Social media is a great tool for collecting valuable insight that you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to get.
7. Know When to Move to a Private Chat
All complaints and issues should be resolved as quickly as possible. However, it’s also really important to know which social media posts should be resolved in public or private. Certain issues that require personal information, for example, are better resolved in a private message. In other cases, conversations held publicly can get tense and are better handled in private for a positive outcome.
8. Use Your Brand’s Tone and Voice
When providing customer service through social media, it’s crucial to use your brand’s tone and voice. If you sound like a completely different persona or don’t embody what your brand stands for, it’ll confuse customers and send them away.
9. Stay Professional and Polite
When posting publicly, remember that your comments can be seen by thousands of people. Naturally, that means stay professional and polite. But it also means that you should try to provide as much information as possible that others, including potential and existing customers, might find useful.
10. Respond in a Friendly, Casual Way
Many businesses create canned responses or adopt an overly formal tone that puts people off. When you talk to people directly, as if they were someone you know, they respond to you more. It creates a friendly interaction and leaves customers with a positive view of your brand.
11. Mind Your Exclamation Points
Exclamation points are important when talking to customers over social media. When used correctly, they demonstrate enthusiasm and can give some messages a personal touch. However, using exclamation points too often will ruin the effect. To keep the enthusiasm, I only use exclamation points for one out of three sentences.
12. Use a Separate Customer Service Handle
Use a separate handle dedicated strictly to customer service issues. That way, these comments don’t get intertwined with things on your regular handle, and you can assign someone to monitor the handle in real time. When you do that, you can respond faster (in real time in some instances), which will improve the level of support you provide overall.