Businesses can pour money into elaborate advertising campaigns, but bad customer service can undo all that investment instantly.
Studies show that in the United States poor quality customer services costs businesses up to $41 billion each year.
And sadly enough, social media is only handling about 3% of customer service issues today!
Hearing what customers say about you on social media is an invaluable tool that all businesses should be using — but can social media improve your customer relations? Of course! Here’s how:
Connection is the key
Tim Pickard works at a cloud customer contact center. He writes,“You may already have a Facebook or Twitter profile for your personal use; create a social networking profile for your business to connect directly with your customers.” Remember, over 62% of adult internet users use Facebook now, and 23% of all internet users now have a Twitter account. You can’t afford to appear behind the times by NOT having social network options for your customers to get in contact with you!
Blogging is beautiful
Use a blog platform such as WordPress to update clients and suppliers with news from your business. Comment on other people’s blogs or start a discussion thread in an online networking forum. Keep your comments upbeat and positive, and never, ever, criticize your competition on your blog site. Also, always try to include some information that is of actual value to customers; something they can take away that will either leave them with a smile or a useful fact they can use.
Embrace social media, don’t ignore it
Blacklane head of customer care Adam Homfray says, “This is a question that is being placed more and more often, due to the saturation of social media. I know that my view here isn’t the standard, but it’s how my team handles it. The key is acknowledging the issue and the message. It generally will not be possible to solve all such issues openly; think about bank details or other information that cannot be posted on Facebook or Twitter. But acknowledging publicly and following up quickly in private is generally sufficient. Depending on the hours of service you provide, it may be necessary to have some sort of home office solution for social media as a channel, if the expectations of your customers are a fast response, no matter what the time.”
Monitor feedback online
You must remain aware of what people are saying about your business elsewhere on the Internet. Use search engines or tools such as Google Analytics to find reviews of your business.
Reward customer feedback
NPR reports: “Many Americans may have developed survey fatigue over the years. Richard Oliver, a professor of management at Vanderbilt, told the New York Times, ‘The frequent requests to fill out online social media surveys, especially with no incentives, have been so annoying that people just stop doing it.’” Customer feedback is important to your company, so make sure you do something to reward customers who take the time and trouble to respond to your online requests. At the very least email them a thank you! Consider offering them a discount coupon code for a product or service when they do complete an online survey through social media.
Learn from your competition’s social media
Many social media platforms have consumer review sites where customers are encouraged to share their experiences. Scan these regularly to see what customers are saying about you and your competitors. If all your rivals seem to have special offers, it might be worth considering launching one, or you could miss out on a significant market share.
Make sure your customer service people use social media to respond in real time
Social media is everywhere, and practically everyone is using it. But don’t assume your staff are completely trained or completely comfortable with online customer interactions. They may not understand exactly how to use the chat function or how to respond to a text message. Customers using social media to communicate with a company expect real-time responses, not an automated message saying, “We’ll get back to you on that”. So make sure your customer service staff are trained and updated and spot-checked on their social media skills.
The transparent communication between customer and company
Writes business columnist Jayson DeMers: “This works both ways. For the customer, transparency is all about vindication. When customers are upset, they want to be heard, and posting on social media is the perfect way to be heard. By allowing your customers to make their complaints or questions public in this way, you’re giving them an immediate outlet. They feel in control, and appreciate the urgency companies feel to respond when the issue is made public.
“For companies, transparency means that other potential customers get to see how well you handle the situation. If you can answer a customer’s concerns quickly, nicely, and effectively, you’ll instantly leave all of your followers with a good feeling—confidence that your customer service is top-notch.”