As little as a decade ago, customers with questions or complaints would call a designated number, be treated to ‘Good Vibrations’ hold music, and be passed from department to department. We’ve all experienced a similar situation. Today, customer service has changed entirely, due to the inescapable reality of social media.
I am convinced that responding promptly and correctly to consumers or potential customers on social media is a key ingredient in any social media strategy. This is especially true of small businesses looking to develop recognition of their brand. Indeed, according to research by digital marketing consultants "Convince and Convert", 42% of consumers posing a question or comment on a social media business page expect a response between five minutes and an hour.
There are a few things a small firm can do to optimise their social media customer service strategy to ensure a happy customer.
Firstly, it is important to note that comments about your business may not be aimed at your business directly. Search social media for those talking about your business, and respond accordingly. This may mean changing your customer service strategy, depending on the feedback you’re receiving. It certainly provides insights into how your brand is perceived.
Secondly, agree on the tone that your customer service advisors should be taking, to reflect the tone of your brand. A friendly, human, and personable tone is what you should be aiming for, and works wonders for brand recognition. Automated, dry, robotic in tone reflects poorly on your brand.
Thirdly, respond promptly. The research by ‘Convince and Convert’ makes clear that customers expect a prompt response on social media channels to their inquiries. If you are not monitoring your social media accounts regularly, you may be perceived as ignoring customer’s issues. Letting your customers know that you’re listening and responding to their needs, is essential in developing that connection so central to a successful social media strategy.
Finally, do not restrict correspondence to the public realm. If a consumer has an inquiry, move the conversation to a private conversation. Twitter has a private messaging function, as does Facebook. This gives you the opportunity to directly correspond with the individual, and offer assistance on a far more personal level.
These are just a few tips to get you started on developing a social media customer service strategy. Ultimately, the strategy will rely on the direction you wish to take your brand and how it is to relate to the public, but the key thing to remember is that both social media and customer service are evolving together, and a successful brand must evolve with them.
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