Sharpening Your Social Media Customer Service Skills
By Collin Holmes
For some businesses social media is nothing but a waste of time. And it’s easy to see how they come to that conclusion. They launch their social channels, send lots of updates, don’t get any more sales…and give up. But it’s becoming increasingly essential for businesses to make use of social media, and one of the main ways that businesses use it is for customer service.
Social media is popular with millions of people all over the world. For many people, Facebook and Twitter are where they spend most of their time online. It’s therefore understandable that when a customer has a complaint or a question, they will often contact the business directly via social media rather than sending an email or calling them on the phone.
You need to make sure you master social media customer service. Not only will it keep more customers happy and coming back for more, but it can improve your brand image because the social media posts are in the public eye. Here’s a guide to some of the best practices to master:
Go Where Your Customers Are
First of all, you need to go where your customers are. That means using the platforms that they use and making sure you have a strong presence on them. Don’t assume that they are always going to be more active on Facebook or Twitter. Depending on your business and target audience, you may find that the best place to spend your time is SnapChat, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. By making sure you’re active on the right channels you can make yourself more visible to your customers, and they will know exactly where to go to reach you.
The first rule of responding to social media comments is to reply to questions quickly. When a customer sends you an email you may get away with responding the next day. However, on social media, speed is important. The best way to ensure you answer questions and concerns quickly is to use a monitoring tool like www.chatmeter.com. This will alert you to any mentions of your brand or product names so you can instantly check the details of the comment and answer them.
Sometimes these will just be general comments that you can respond to. Other times they may be specific questions or concerns that you can then answer directly. You should also ensure that someone is constantly checking your social media feeds for any questions that they can answer. And you could even set up a specific channel for customer service. You may even want to go one step further and set up a group for customer service issues. This is something more common with larger companies, but it’s still worth considering.
Get Your Tone Right
Answering customer service inquiries quickly is important, but so is answering them with the right tone. First, you should ensure you always remain professional and courteous in your responses. Remember, these are often public interactions that other customers will see, so you want them to reflect well on your business. But you could also go further and use the tone of the customer’s comment to base your reply upon. For example, if they write using lots of slang and emoticons, you could provide a more relaxed answer to reflect this. If their complaint uses more formal language, don’t reply too casually.
React Appropriately To Negative Comments
Negative comments are one area where you have to pay special care. If you receive negative comments, questions, or complaints on social media, the same rules apply as above. However, you should be especially careful in how you handle them. The main rule is to always be professional, apologetic, and patient. If you’ve made a mistake admit the mistake and promise to resolve it. Even if the customer is being unreasonable, show your understanding and offer to speak in private, perhaps via email or on the phone. By reacting appropriately, you will show other customers that you care about their experience with your brand and that customer satisfaction is high on your agenda.
Master Social Media Customer Service
Social media is such a valuable tool for providing instant and highly effective customer feedback that your customers will appreciate your fast responses to their problems, and you will be able to show the world just how well you treat your customers. Mastering customer service on social media takes a bit of time and practice, but by using these techniques you can quickly get the hang of the best way to go about it. So start monitoring your brand mentions and ensure you’re providing an outstanding level of customer service on whichever social platforms you’re using.
Collin Holmes, founded Chatmeter, Inc in 2009 and serves as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Holmes is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside and graduated with an MBA from San Diego State University. Prior to Chatmeter, Mr. Holmes served as Vice President of Product Management and Director of Product Marketing for xAD, Inc. (LocalAdXchange) (also known as V-enable).