15 Jun Have you considered social media customer service as part of your PR plan?
Simply saying you care about your customers is not enough. To be a successful business, quality customer service is essential. Happy customers can act as champions for your business and help spread your message.
So, what is social media customer service, why do you need it and how do you implement it?
Taking the conversation online
Social media has rapidly become the first point of contact for customers. Ignore them online and the chances are they will share your inaction.
Using social media as a platform to provide customer service and support makes sense. If people are engaging with you brand via social media (and if they are not, why do you even have a social media presence?), you need to help them within the platform. 40% of customers who complain on social media expect a response within one hour, according to business growth expert, Jay Baer.
If you ignore customers or deal with the situation poorly, you might end up dealing with a PR crisis.
This tongue-in-cheek reply from a cosmetics company is a prime example of poorly managed social media customer service. When a customer goes on social media to contact a company, they already have an axe to grind. Agitating them further is inadvisable if you want to protect your brand reputation.
Social media can be your greatest ally and your greatest enemy as a business. Customer experience management company, Market Force, says, “The emergence of social media has given consumers a whole new way to interact with the brands they love — and a forum to complain when brands disappoint. But what many companies have learned is just how powerful connecting one-on-one with customers can be when those consumers take the time to post.”
Recently we have been asked by several clients to help them respond more effectively on social media. This is a natural extension of the communications consultancy – to ensure brand management is consistent at every point of contact with the outside world. It has been an enlightening experience.
Here are some of our top tips on engaging with your customers on social media:
- It simple but universally true: respond to enquiries as quickly as possible. Have a process in place to respond to the most common customer questions as soon as possible.
- Even if you cannot answer right away, a friendly response can help reassure someone that the brand is listening and prepared to get back to them. Anything is better than silence
- Plan your response. If you are using Facebook, make use of ‘saved replies’. This will help keep a constant brand tone and to reply quicker.
- If there are negative comments, get the conversation offline as soon as possible and reply in private messages if possible.
- Follow up with customers in the timescales promised. Many brands reply with ‘we will get back to you’. Make sure you do, even if its simply to say ‘we still don’t have a final answer’.
Social media is a vital tool that can be used to gain trust from your brand’s online community if managed correctly. Our team at XL can work with you to engage with your existing and potential customers by embracing the power of social media.