Interaction between brands and their clients using social media for customer service become more instant and spontaneous, which can be to the advantage to this industry.
In this digital age, social media allows businesses to be more customer-oriented because this is where people connect with their loved ones, friends, and even the brands they patronize. Social media accounts enable direct communication between the consumer and the business. Hence, customer service managers can leverage this platform to improve their relationship with their consumers and clients.
Being mobile and online give people ease of access to communication as it tears down any possible awkwardness of a face-to-face talk between two people.
Here are a few tips for better customer service through social media:
1. Find the perfect platform
There has been a lot of online platforms emerging lately, especially when it comes to social networking and connections. There is the more popular Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram to name a few.
While maximizing online presence through these social media platforms is recommended, nurturing and managing customer relationship is a different thing altogether. Know where your customers are. Familiarize yourself with the various social media platforms. Choose the social media account for customer service that is most relevant to you to make your strategy more effective.
One brand who ingeniously connected with its market through social media platforms is Domino’s Pizza. Since Twitter is a popular platform for connections and conversations in 140 characters, Domino’s Pizza saw this as an opportunity to make food orders easier for their market. With their tweet-to-order strategy, it tries to put their customer’s convenience at the fore, with only a pizza emoji needed to begin the transaction. Domino’s also uses a Messenger bot for customer service, where “DOM the Pizza Bot” allows customers to order pizza in the convenience of a chat app they are familiar with.
2. Listen carefully for brand mentions
To listen in this case is to monitor for mentions of your brand or company. There are listening tools available that would give you data on people’s reactions, comments and reviews of your brand.
These listening tools can help you dig every corner of the web whenever and wherever your brand is mentioned, including social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can use tools like Social Mention that allows you to track if you have mentions in social media. It also enables you to track both the reach of the comment and sentiment – either positive or negative – of your brand. Once you’ve tracked the mention, make sure that you respond appropriately to feedback as this is an important customer touch point you should not overlook.
Moreover, listening tools give you an overview of how clients see your brand and your management of it. These insights guide you to respond appropriately to brand mentions. For instance, Is the brand mention something positive like a commendation? Would you reply back with a ‘thank you’? How about when something negative comes up? How will you address the concern? It’s important to have standard answers and proper resolution for your customer’s concerns.
3. Talk human
Get rid of template responses. Keep in mind that you are talking to real people. Sound like one, too. One way to practice this is to use their names. Calling a person by his or her name humanizes the situation. Moreover, it makes a response or the interaction more personal and friendly. It puts a personality or perhaps even a face to the conversation.
This strategy is exercised by Buffer’s Tweets & replies feed. They acknowledge the person behind the tweet, and makes it known that there is a person behind the response by using the CRM team member’s name to sign the tweet
Thanks for checking it out and sharing it, Maree! 🙏 -Alfred
— Buffer (@buffer) January 18, 2018
🙌 Thanks, Troy! Would love to hear if you have any thoughts about it 😊 -Alfred
— Buffer (@buffer) January 18, 2018
You're welcome, Martin! Would you still be trying it? 😊 -Alfred
— Buffer (@buffer) January 18, 2018
Wouldn’t you appreciate a brand’s customer service more if you are aware that it is not a bot you are talking to on social media, but a person too?
4. Build relationships.
Social media for customer service is rooted in nurturing a good relationship with your customers. Nike is perhaps one of the better brands that puts this into practice. Their brand, after all, is not just about selling sports apparel and gear; they market a lifestyle, an attitude.
Consequently, in terms of customer relationship management, Nike goes the extra mile. They have a dedicated Twitter account for Nike Support that is operational seven days a week, and is supported in seven languages!
A popular example of their customer interaction is with a client who sought their help in finding an order number. The query was rather unclear, with the client clarifying that he had found the information himself. Regardless, Nike Support’s response carried the tone of care and support, assuring the client that he can always approach Nike Support whenever he needs help.
5. Speed is key
While patience is a virtue, waiting will not sit well with an irate customer. In cases where customer service is needed, speed is always key. Respond to your customers in a timely manner. You do not want to aggravate a bad situation with a client by making them wait. It pays to be mindful of the time gap when addressing your audience’s concerns.
This is what worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. They had a goal of cutting response time to an hour, and resolving issues within 24 hours when dealing with posts and tweets. Now with a 24 minute average first response time and a 92% post response rate to questions asked on Facebook to be proud of, KLM knows that time is essential in keeping a smooth customer relationship.
How KLM handled customer service in the wake of the Icelandic ash cloud in 2010 made them a leader in customer relationship management in B2C marketing. They turned to social media, the very platform that their customers are using, for crisis management and redirecting stranded passengers due to flight cancellations to other means of travel.
6. Ensure Follow Through
To build on relationships, your company or business must make sure that there is a follow through action to every communication. Customer service should not just stop with a post or tweet.
Make sure that the response is substantial enough to meet your customer’s needs. If you say that you will look into your customer’s inquiry and concern, make sure that you do. Get back to them afterwards too. Don’t leave them hanging with their concerns. Offer alternative means of assistance, if needed.
7. Be Proactive
Don’t turn your social media platform into a rant space or a complaints desk. Your social media platform is about making connections and conversations with your clients. Engage with them even when there are no complaints. Reach out, and engage with them often.
Seamless, an online service for ordering food from local restaurants, showed how addressing even a passive complaint can work well for customer service. A client tweeted to Seamless, informing them that his order came with white rice instead of brown. Seamless took the initiative to look into his order, which the client very much appreciated.
@Seamless hi. I ordered Chinese last night, got white rice instead of brown. Don't mind terribly, just FYI.
— Nick Durante (@nickdurante91) November 25, 2015
The Takeaway: Leveraging Social Media for Omni-Channel Customer Service
So, if you want to give better customer service via social media, make sure you got the following covered:
- choose the best online platform to connect with your clients
- find listening tools to monitor your brand mentions
- maintain responsiveness and constant engagement with your audience
- use personal touch in communication
In a nutshell, always remember that social media for customer service is not about the trendiest online tool out there. Customer service is all about connections and relationships, and what you do to nurture and sustain those.
At the end of the day, customers would not stop to think in terms of channels. What is important to them is that they they are get immediate and appropriate responses to their concerns and inquiries. The key to winning the game on customer service is knowing where your customers are and what touch points they are using. Most of them are in social media, and you should be, too.
When you stop to listen, analyze, and respond to your customers online you create a deeper, positive, and more engaged relationship with them. This will ultimately give you a competitive advantage. Hence, if you are not yet using social media, it is high time that you do so. You can start with something simple, but the important thing is that you start it — now.