How Social is Your Customer Service?
Customer service by nature is social. It involves some form of interaction between people. But, what do those interactions look like for your business? Many companies provide customer service by email, chat, phone and even in-person for local businesses. These can all be effective means of assisting customers but there’s another player that could become a valuable member of your customer service team—social media.
Go Where Your Customers Are
Good customer service should be accessible and convenient for customers. That means you as the business must offer help in ways and places that are usable by your customers. In today’s world, that includes on social media.
Another important point here is that even if you do not officially offer customer service on social sites, your customers will still leave comments there about your service. If you do nothing with these, you have opened yourself up for some potential reputation management problems.
Put On Your Marketing Hat
Offering service to your customers is another form of marketing your business. Any time you communicate with customers or potential customers, you are giving them something with which to form an opinion about your company and that’s what marketing is all about. Customer service can do that like nothing else can.
How to Make Your Customer Service Social
Social customer service done well need not be difficult but must be done well. Following are four tips to keep in mind when going social:
- You Don’t Have to Be Right
Make sure that your service focus is about hearing and responding to what a customer says, not about proving their error even if it is glaring. Be polite and humble in how you communicate—remember, the world is watching.
- Be Available
Smaller businesses can get away with offering social customer service during business hours only but larger companies may need to expand service times. Keep response times as short as possible and avoid the trap of focusing only on your time zone if you operate in multiple regions. Customer service should be about the customer, not about you.
- Get Alerted
One way that you can offer short response times without having to staff a call center ‘round the clock is to get alerts when posts are made on your social sites. This gives you the ability to respond promptly when needed without unnecessary overhead.
- It’s Ok to Go Offline
Utilizing a public forum to showcase your outstanding service can make you a rock star. However, there will be situations that require more finesse and that warrant being taken offline. Use good judgement and know when to do this. You can still let it be known publicly that you are handling the situation but avoid the problems that can arise from an unpleasant situation being made public.
You know that social media can positively impact your brand and your SEO. Similarly, making customers happy is a cornerstone of continued business success. When you put these two together, you can enjoy greater power to manage your online reputation.
Putting It Together
Social customer service should never replace your other means of delivering service to your customers. Instead, incorporate it as a viable addition to your already strong service offering.