In today’s fast paced digital world, we want answers at the click of a button. Customer service online is no different, and is particularly expected on social media. You may think that you have solid customer service face to face or over the phone, but how about your online responses? It’s crucial to maintain fantastic customer service online as well as offline.
The following statistics from Conversocial show the consequences of poor social customer service that include:…
88% – Consumers who will be less likely to buy from you after seeing unanswered questions on social media
83% – Social media users who have abandoned a purchase after poor customer service
So, if you’re not sure how to start, where you stand or would just like to improve your customers’ current online communication experience, check out the following points.
Also read: Social Media Myths hurting your Business
1) Know where your audience is
First of all, knowing where your audience actually are is vital to making sure you can hear their comments! It could be that you have a fairly quiet Facebook page in terms of mentions and feedback, but your customers are actually reaching out to you on Twitter on the daily. Listen and look out for where you get the most mentions. Facebook and Twitter are usually the norm; however don’t forget sites such as Instagram and Linkedin.
2) Monitor all mentions, not just @ tags
Whilst we can easily monitor @ mentions and tags on social media, it is important, (albeit harder) to keep track of those who do not directly tag our business, rather writing the business’s name or products instead. Many online tools allow you to monitor untagged mentions on social media, such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Social Mention and Agorapulse, so make sure this is a part of your strategy moving forward.
Setting up unlinked mention tracking couldn’t be simpler. For example, to do this in Hootsuite, add a new tab in your stream, select ‘Browse all Streams’, then select ‘Search’, then add the keyword/s or hashtags you wish to track. Easy!
3) Respond swiftly. If not possible, make use of auto-responses
Once you are certain you have your audience’s mentions tracked effectively, it’s time to start responding. Depending on the nature of your business and the volume of communication received, expected response times will vary. However, quicker is always better. Make sure your channels are checked consistently throughout the day and mentions are responded to swiftly.
If, logistically, your business’s customer service on social media can only be available between certain hours, make sure you have instant replies set up on Facebook. This makes your customers aware, and provides them with alternative solutions rather than a dead end conversation.
Tips to note:
For instance, you could include details for an alternative contact, a link to your help or FAQ section, or simply assure them you will get back to them as soon as you can. Whilst this isn’t possible with tweets (without breaking Twitter rules), you can have a tweet pinned to the top of your Twitter profile that includes similar information and helps to manage your customers’ expectations.
Another helpful practice is to have an internal log/copy of typical responses sent to customers for repetitive queries/complaints. That way, any member of the team can send responses swiftly.
Importantly, a customer who praises you or your work on social media also deserves a swift, personalized thank you note.
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4) Be careful with your tone and remain polite
If you have more than one person managing your company’s social media channels, it’s important that you all have a clear understanding of your business’s voice and tone online. Are you using 1st person or 3rd person? Are your responses bubbly and energetic. casual or laid back or strictly professional? Using the same voice and tone is important to maintaining continuity. Your audience will notice.
Additionally, politeness and exceptional grammar is important when it comes to online customer service. A badly placed period (or full stop) or exclamation mark could unintentionally come across as rude or blunt. Remembering your pleases and thank yous should also not be underestimated, much like the use of friendly emojis when appropriate.
Please and thank you’s remain magic words online too. Or Please and thank you’s are still magic words.
5) Be smart with apologies
If your business is in the wrong, apologise. It’s an old saying, but it still stands true today – your customers are always right, and your audience will appreciate it. Never argue your point (even if you’re actually right!) if you’re at fault, simply apologise, resolve the matter, or assure them that you will take their feedback onboard to improve moving forward.
Unfortunately there are a minority who make defamatory remarks and severe accusations online to damage reputation or simply as a way to get money back. In these instances, it’s wise to take the conversation offline as quickly as possible (see number 6). You should always assume your audience is telling the truth. However, due to the need to investigate these situations internally, the initial public response may need to be done quickly to make sure their complaint is not left unanswered. In these instances, politeness and public apologies can still be done, without your business initially accepting responsibility for the complaint.
“We’re very sorry to hear you feel this way. Please be assured that we take these matters very seriously and it is being investigated internally, as we speak.”
“We are very shocked to hear this. Please be assured we take these matters very seriously and it is being investigated internally, as we speak.”
6) Knowing when to take something offline… and more.
It’s important to know when to take your customer service offline. Not only is this usually beneficial for the customer, it also means it removes the possibility of lengthy back and forth for all the public to see. Taking customer service offline is recommended in the following situations:
– A very upset and angry customer
– A customer that has a number of questions or a question that requires a lengthy answer/ lots of back and forth
– Personal details need to be shared
Should you cease engagement?
This can can be a tricky decision. Sometimes customers may not be satisfied with the resolution provided to them after a complaint. In this case, after being taken off of social media, they come back online to continue to voice their upset. At this stage, if the management’s position is firm with a resolution, responding back and forth to the customer further online could only add fuel to the fire and upset them more. At such times, reiterating the resolution and apologising a final time will help finalise the situation, and if they continue on from there, it is best to cease engagement and monitor the situation if necessary.
If a customer simply has lots of questions, it may be helpful to direct them towards your FAQ or Help section, rather than sending them answer after answer. However, you should always follow up that you’re happy to help if they still require assistance after visiting this section of your website.
Benefits of 5 Star Social Media Customer Service
Giving 5 star customer service on social media not only allows you to effortlessly resolve your customers’ enquiries, but it places your business in a positive light. By answering you customers’ enquiries and complaints well and publicly, it shows others that your business takes these issues seriously and cares about making things right. Your business will develop a personality, and people will appreciate your responsiveness over those who simply do not bother.
Jade Dawson is a Social Media and SEO Executive at MRS Digital.
After completing her education at Brighton University, she honed her SEO skills in a number of distinguished agencies. Today, working with the SEO team, Jade helps businesses further their digital marketing goals. She loves keywords and riding horses.
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