Customer service is defined as the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services.
Traditional media used for customer service include phones, emails, and customer service centers among others. However, with the introduction and increasing popularity of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, social media has become a new channel where customers can approach companies to let them know about any complaints or remarks they might have regarding the company’s products or services.
The need for social media customer service
About 42% of the entire world’s population is using social media and this percentage is only growing. Hence, being active on this platform is no longer an option for companies around the world, it is a necessity!
If your company is offering products and services of any kind, people on social media will talk about them whether your company has a presence on those sites or not. And if your company is unable to respond to these comments, then it will lead to a poor customer service experience. According to Oracle, 89% of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience.
On the other hand, providing a good social media customer service experience can help the company grow its consumer base and better its image in the public eye. 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.
Lisa Masiello, the Owner and Chief Marketing Officer of TECHmarc Labs, is famously quoted as saying “Happy customers are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team”.
How to provide great social media customer service
The following factors contribute to a great social media customer service experience:
Respond to everything and be quick!
People on social media are used to seeing immersive fast-paced content. This may be the reason why many people expect interactions on the platform to be the same: quick and engaging. In fact, 42 percent of consumers expect a response to their customer service inquiry within the hour. Of this group, 17 percent expect a response in minutes.
This means if you’re not quick with the replies you may be losing out on customers.
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is that, since it’s the internet, you will probably be flooded with tons and tons of queries about your company’s products and it will be your responsibility to reply to each one of them responsibly.
Many such comments will be from real customers who have a genuine concern about your products. However, there will always be a few people out there who will attempt to waste your time.
Differentiating legitimate comments from the illegitimate ones can be a possible solution. However, it is best practice to reply to each and everything someone says about you on social media platforms.
Even if the response is a standard reply, saying something will always be better than ignoring someone’s comment about your brand.
Try and win people over
The internet is a place of freedom. People will often say things on there that they may never dare to say to someone in real life. There is something about being in the comfort of one’s home with your identity being hidden behind a screen that can bring out the worst in people.
It is the brand’s responsibility to deal with such comments in a way that shows class. People will have their eyes on you, the brand. The person making the comment will never be criticized as much as the brand that replies to the comment.
Always replying in a positive and responsible way does not only deal with trolls in a respectable manner, but it can also show other people how the brand values customer opinions leading to a better image of the company in the public eye.
Know when to take things private
When dealing with comments on social media platforms, there often comes a time when it is better to continue the dialogue with the customer in private. Knowing when to talk publicly and when to take things private can dramatically impact how the public views the brand.
Social media customer service is different from other forms of customer service in the way that in almost all other channels, the company deals with the customer on a one-to-one basis. However, when a company conducts customer service on social media, the customer concerned with the complaint is not the only one who is seeing the response. There are thousands of others who are analyzing the way you interact with your consumers. You can either use this opportunity to your advantage by replying quickly, in a positive fashion, and directing the conservation to go private, if needed, resulting in people seeing how amicably and professionally you deal with consumers, or you can drive people away by not following the rules of good customer service. The choice is up to you!