Maybe you don’t believe that social media has an effect on sales, and we’ll leave the convincing you of otherwise to another blog post. But if you’ve ever spent 3 hours on hold with customer service, it should be easy to see why making this a function of your social media efforts can be beneficial to your brand. It’s so easy nowadays for a consumer to become frustrated when trying to contact your business about a customer service issue and take to the social media space to vent about it. If there was a way to turn that ranting tweet or Facebook post into one that commended your brand for superior customer service – in a public medium, no less – wouldn’t you be eager to do so?
The truth is, managing a Facebook and/or Twitter account for your brand’s customer service is easier than you might think. Your customer service team already exists (your online efforts should in no way replace them, by the way), so all you need to do is connect your social media agency/manager to someone in the department. Then, when an issue is directed towards your social media accounts, it can passed along to someone in your customer service sector who can help resolve it.
Sounds simple enough, right? The key, of course, is making sure that each issue or problem is:
- Addressed. Don’t avoid or ignore your angriest customers – they’re the ones who will start the biggest social media firestorm for doing so.
- Taken Care of – Swiftly. Remember, the reason your customers have opted to reach out to you via social media is so they don’t have to spend 3 hours on hold.
- Followed-Up On. Sometimes the solution will be in the form of your customer service team reaching out to solve the issue via another means of communication, such as phone or email. Be sure to follow-up with each user though social media to ensure that contact was made and the issue resolved. An added bonus is that, if the issue has been resolved, you’re likely to elicit a “thank you” and positive brand mention.
If you think you’re ready to bring customer service to your social media channels, here are a few things to consider:
- Will you only have someone monitoring your accounts during normal business hours? Does it make sense to have someone “on-call” earlier in the morning, later in the evening, and/or on weekends?
- Will you use a monitoring tool to keep track of these conversations?
- What tone will be used when addressing the issues? (Remember, these interactions are public, so knowing this in advance is extremely important)
- How will you handle an angry customer?
Like any other social media endeavor, your social media customer service efforts need a well laid out plan and easy-to-follow strategy. These interactions can have a direct impact on your customers’ brand experience and overall perception of your business. You may be cringing at the thought of handling your brand’s customer service issues online for millions of people to see. But if done right, you could end up with an online army of very happy customers and a slew of very public online mentions about how awesome your business is.