Customer service is the interaction between the buyer of a product and the company that sells it. Good customer service is essential to business success, ensuring brand loyalty one customer at a time.
Statista has estimated that there would be 2.77 billion people around the world who use social media in 2019, which would be an increase from the 2.62 billion recorded in 2018. It is for this reason that most businesses have decided to pitch their tents there to generate new leads and retain existing customers.
Social media usage by companies goes beyond bombarding timelines with campaign ads, posts, videos, or images; it also involves relating to prospects and customers on a more personal level. They are no longer separated by time or distance as customers now have unrestricted access to their brands and can now get answers to their questions and complaints resolved immediately.
Every brand with an online presence must endeavour to engage customers and prospects by replying to messages and solving complaints. Doing this will increase trust in your brand and of course, lead to an increase in sales and customer retention. How do you provide excellent customer service on social media? Here are some few suggestions:
It could be a question, complaint, feedback, or even comments about your products. Learn to respond or acknowledge everything your customers and prospects type on your page so that they feel involved. It shows that your brand is attentive and genuinely cares for their contribution. When you don’t respond, it sends a negative message, which could mean you intentionally ignored them and do not appreciate their comment. It is essential to have scripted response to popular questions, but when responding to a particular customer, ensure you’ve modified it to have a personal touch as an automated response will make your brand look fake.
However, one determinant of your response rate is the size of your business. If you have a small business, then it is expected to respond to every comment. However, if it’s a medium or large size business, then you will have to think of a strategy. For example, you might choose an automated response, or click on the “like” button to acknowledge positive comments. Doing this allows you time to focus on negative comments. Some corporations create a social media handle where they send customers with complaints about resolving while the leading brand deals with inquiries or feedbacks.
Everyone wants their complaint solved as quick as possible. They also wish to answers upon every inquiry. Moreover, if they have to come online to seek answers from your brand, you need to respond to them fast, and this means in less than an hour. Anything more than that will cause them to become frustrated and suspicious of your brand. Even Facebook will only consider your business to be very responsive if it replies to users in less than five minutes every day!
When customers are not satisfied with your service and can’t make a complaint, they will also begin to look out for competitors who are taking their business more seriously. They might also inform family and friends about the incompetence of your brand. So if you don’t resolve their complaints, they will surely look for other channels to make them, and this includes posting it publicly on social media and tagging you. If you cannot manage the social media handles and respond swiftly, then, by all means, get someone to do it.
When a user tries to make inquiries about a product or service, you can provide the information in public as it will make other users who might need the same information see it. If it’s an inquiry that requires some research, you can leave a message that you’ll get back to them shortly. However, if a complaint gets lodged, it is best to resolve it in private by sending them a message on the platform or via email.
Whichever way you choose to deal with your customers, ensure you create a guideline to make the process easier and ensure you are not missing any steps. Always have in mind how to interact with negative commenters in a way it won’t tarnish your brand’s image. Keep the conversation friendly even if the person at the other end is making hurtful comments.
People love when they get treated personally and addressing someone by their name is a form of personalisation which they appreciate. So, if you are going to discuss with a customer and they have their names on the profile, you should use it rather than going for the generic, “Dear customer.” This format creates a personal touch and allows the user to feel like an actual customer.
Using an angry customer’s name, who is ready to let vent on your page will bring a calm reaction. It puts a human face on your brand’s image and conditions the customer to imagine he is speaking with someone, although not physically present. Also, you can make this process more authentic by closing your response with your first name or initials for transparency. This method will also help the company keep track of the person replying in case there is a need to revisit the issue.
It doesn’t matter what the customer says, ensure you always reply with a positive tone keeping at the back of your mind that without a customer, your business would be non-existent. Reply to every negative statement with a positive tone because other customers are going to see it. If you want to steer clear of negative reputation, you can learn Social Media Rules for Brands here.
When you have loyal customers, they will chip in and defend your products or services. You will need to generate positive responses for negative comments so that you do not type the wrong thing out of irritation. To do this, you have to recall previous negative comments, emails, or calls and draft your positive response accordingly. Also, when responding, always remember to address the customer by name and show empathy.
Your business may have opening and closing hours, but social media is always on 24/7, and customers will ever need a reply to questions. How do you mitigate this problem? You might want to take advantage of social media customer service tools such as Buffer, Hootsuite, Mention, or Sparkcentral. They help notify when a customer leaves a comment even when you’re offline or not tagged.