By Carrie-ann | Nov 30, 2014 | Internet Marketing, Social Media

Why You Need Social Media for Customer Service

Social media is turning into the first port of call for customer queries, both good and bad. If managed properly your business can excel and enhance its brand and reputation. Don’t think you can live without a social media presence. In your absence, the chatter will go on without you.  Customers talk about their experiences both good and bad. When chatter is negative you won’t have a platform to manage it. When social word of mouth is good you’ll effectively be leaving money on the table.
Gone are the days when social media was just for trendy B2C businesses and their customers. Facebook in particular has become main stream.  Your customers will spend time on social media for various reasons. Perhaps they have a hobby, keep in touch with family or follow a cause. In any case, your business has to be where your customers are.
Social media is leading a charge in sectors you may not expect. Just think of car dealers, plumbers and estate agents. Businesses in these sectors have switched onto social media to find solutions to problems quickly and to make the most of what’s positive. They are engaging with their customers directly to manage customer service interaction.  A problem can be turned into an opportunity if handled correctly.
Social media has changed the way customer service is handled. It’s not the only customer service platform obviously but it has increased customer expectations. Customers want faster answers and the longer queries take to get resolved the more likely the query will turn sour.
You may be wondering how you might manage these kinds of interactions. Think of your Facebook page (for example) is an opportunity to increase the trust and appeal of your business and its products and services. Put like this, it’s too important to leave to someone who is not steeped in your customer service protocols. It’s also essential they can converse with customers on social media. The point is that customer service supports your sales efforts and selling involves psychology. You must know your customers, be approachable and engage with them.
Anyone managing your social media channels therefore needs to know who the go to people are for specific queries and the protocols for dealing with queries. The 24/7 nature of social media puts a lot of pressure on customer services processes.  If the person managing your page isn’t available after 7pm then you can miss opportunities to help customers. This is perhaps one of the reasons some businesses have shied away from social media.  Along with the expectation businesses are more likely to hear from unhappy than happy customers.  Managing negative opinions or problems is an essential part of reputation management and winning customers over.
Perhaps an example will help crystallise what I mean.  Suppose someone posts a comment relating to a delivery that arrived damaged.  The wrong thing to say would be to have a response quoting chapter and verse of your returns policy or even just posting a link. More helpfully, you should consider that this person has taken the time to find your business on social media rather than pick up the phone. Your aim should be to be helpful and approachable and to converse with them. Apologise. Acknowledge the problem, and commit to rectifying the situation.  You can then say you will send a personal message to work out the logistics. Trusted companies don’t quibble with customers when there is a clear solution. When there are quick answers or solutions to problems people are more likely to buy from you and this includes the customer having the problem. Customers want to feel appreciated.

How I Can Help

As you can probably tell, all this interaction requires a light touch and someone close to the business.  I manage many social media accounts for a wide variety of clients in various sectors.  Sometimes I am more like a PA, in that I directly alert the right person within a company. They either respond directly to the customer query or instruct me on how to respond.  If you’re a 9-5 person having someone like me to bridge the gap. I become almost like an out of hours PA who can quickly respond to customers.