Customer service has evolved from the typical telephone call, fax, and email to social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like to connect with brands and businesses. Indeed, before customer service was in-person – either personally going to a brand’s physical office, phoning them in, writing a letter via post and the like.
Today, however because of the explosion of internet usage and the availability of digital tools, customer service has metamorphosed to an online endeavor. In previous posts, we have painstakingly pointed out that we people are social hence the internet has provided online social venues to connect with companies and brands and this new online venue has afforded people – product consumers at that – to connect and companies now can better serve their respective clientele.
If your brand, business or enterprise has not yet embraced the social phenomenon called social media to address the concerns of your clients and patrons and to connect with your target audience and viewers than you are surely living in the stone age (pun intended!).
The way business processes and services are constantly evolving especially in the digital revolution, a lot (if not many) of those that haven’t transitioned from the traditional mode of customer service to the online social customer service are really being left-out in the competition.
Why Use Social Media For Customer Care?
The simple reason (albeit too simple) is the fact that we live in the digital age. People – your clients and customers – are all living the internet biosphere. Digital devices are being made and invented in such a pace that it is dizzying… people now have tablets, phablets, mobile devices that are internet connected.
Not to be forgotten are laptops and other mobile computer devices for people always on the go. And since people are social, no matter how busy people check on their social media accounts. Who doesn’t have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger account/s? Of the more than 7 billion people living on planet Earth, a substantial number of people do have social accounts to interact and socialize with peers, friends, colleagues, family and anyone else at the comfort of their car seat, office, on the bus and anywhere else.
Customer service online (tagged as the new social care by some) is actually more than just responding for the sake of responding to suggestions, comments, complaints and other customer-related reactions posted on Facebook, tweeted and retweeted on Twitter, Instagram posts and similar reactions on social media sites. And it is definitely beyond that of responding to an angry tirade on Facebook or Instagram. Social media customer service is about addressing all comments – both positive and negative – on all social media channels that a brand, business or enterprise uses to amplify brand signature digitally. A plus would be that brands and businesses, in using online social media platforms for customer care, can now showcase their finesse in handling customer interactions on a broader scale.
So to better do this and be effective in using social media as your customer service platform, we’ve come up with these 10 Tips to help you.
1. Prioritize proactive social media customer service to compliment marketing objective.
Given today’s permeation of social media and other digital platforms in the lives of billions of people around the globe, social media and other online social platforms have fast become and rapidly gained momentum as the go-to place for netizens to interact and connect with brands and businesses.
Social savvy netizens nowadays uses social media to directly communicate with brands and businesses against traditional forms of media channels. That said, forward looking brands and businesses should begin thinking of using the same social media to reach out with their respective clientele and refocus customer care using social media into this new technology which users prefer to use.
2. Refocus and realign customer care objectives using social media.
Unlike the traditional customer care service wherein calls, letters and faxes are received and acted slow-paced, social media customer care deviates from it. In social media customer care, it isn’t enough to just responding to comments on Facebook. Responses should be more human and in a timely fashion. Aside from this, social media can be used to inform customers about other things about the brand or product. Social media can be a gateway for brands and businesses to empathize with their clients.
3. Look for social conversations that ties to your brand and join them.
Social media platforms are an awesome place to socially listen to people that may unconsciously need or are looking for your particular brand, product or service. While those conversations might not directly mention your brand by name, those are good places to join and share your thoughts and inputs and subtly inform them of your brand that can answer for what those people might need. Essentially, that’s precisely why it is called “social” media.
4. Broaden your search for social request that doesn’t directly mentions your brand.
While it would be easier to look for mentions on Facebook or Twitter when people uses your @handler, not all though do that particular format of mentioning you. Look for misspelled handlers or hashtags (#) that mentions or pertains to you. Bear in mind that not all are that social savvy or tech savvy to know that difference in using those two (the @handler and #) so to be sure not to miss those opportunities, check if you’re picking those up too.
5. Video response is cool, make use of it.
Clients and customers are human individuals with emotions (come on, it’s no brainer!) so make use of videos to personalize your message to your valued clients. Videos, as a powerful tool sends out the message that you highly value your client or customer and would go to pains just to satisfy and please them. A quick few-seconds personalized video on certain occasions can make them loyal clients for the foreseeable future.
6. Value your customer’s time, set time when you’d answer concerns and inform your customers.
Let’s face it, customers’ in today’s digital era are very impatient people. When they ask questions they want answers not in days but within minutes. As a businessman or an entrepreneur you also want the same, right? In using social media (which can be seen and shared in the speed of light) brands should value customers’ time, if you have the answer to a query, answer it, if you don’t have it with you or you need to consult others, inform how long they would need to wait. Don’t ignore messages from customers, doing so would alienate them and send them to your competitor plus, because it’s social, they’ll share their unsavoury experience with you and then you’ll be doing damage control instead of focusing on your business.
7. Do the extra mile and make customers happy.
Happy customers are loyal customers. You don’t need us to learn that! Customers that go to social media to vent frustrations, complaints or tirades expects for brands to reply or communicate with them. Don’t just reply, go the extra mile and surprise them. For restaurants, they can reply and provide a coupon for a discount or a free drink. Doing a little something can work wonders. And, oh, you need customers, right?
8. When communicating with customers, ask first before changing your medium of communication.
First point social media interaction between a brand and a customer can be seen by all. After the initial conversations, there might be a point wherein you may need to transfer from public conversations to private especially if private or personal information are to be shared. Before doing so, inform your customer or client of the need to transfer your conversation and tell why. Don’t just switch over without informing. Private conversation can be done using messaging platforms, email or telephone so ask whether it’s alright and which one is more accessible or convenient to your customer.
9. Ask for customer feedback.
Complaints and product feedbacks posted and shared on your brand’s social media are golden opportunities to better improve your brand by learning how customers accept, receive and perceive your brand. Feedbacks (whether positive or negative) are learning tools that can give you valuable data to improve your brand, product or service so capitalize on them too!
10. Authenticity is the best policy.
Be authentic. Customers are very astute in discerning whether your responses to feedbacks and complaints are human responses or automated responses. While technology are bringing forth better and better human-like responses (using virtual robots or chatbots that uses artificial intelligence (AI) nothing beats the human touch. So don’t fake it. Well, unless you’re using more advanced bots to do your bidding!
A brand and company’s customers and clients are their life blood. Nothing can succinctly summarize this article. And since a business’s customer is the backbone of an enterprise, the satisfaction of them is very crucial for businesses to thrive in a highly competitive global market. Social media and the exponential growth of its usage brings to the foreground the importance of customer satisfaction. Feedbacks, reviews and complaints reach more people at an unprecedented scale in a very short span of time. Word spreads out like wildfire so brands, businesses and enterprises must readily adapt to this to remain competitive. Competitiveness nowadays doesn’t just mean lowering prices or making good ads or other ways to entice customers. It’s also about satisfying clients and customers by providing the best customer care using all possible channels that people uses more conveniently.
Social media now affords brands to directly interact with their respective clients and address concerns, feedbacks and complaints faster and easier while enhancing a brand’s customer experience. It may be a daunting task, at the onset but we hope with the tips we’ve provided you’ll take the challenge and re-channel your customer service initiatives.