Tips for providing great customer service over social media

In an age where every business communications are becoming more digital, having exceptional customer service is becoming more important than ever. Thanks to social media, in particular, the way that companies and customers communicate with one another is rapidly changing. Talking from behind a screen means that the physical interaction aspect is removed. But, you still want that customer to feel valued, no matter what.

Social media etiquette

The basic ground rules for proper etiquette and customer service still apply on social media, but there are a few key differences. For one, social media is all about quick response times. As social media has grown, so too have customer service expectations. A 3-4 business day reply won’t do for customers who expect responses and help within the hour, or in many cases, instantly. That is why constant monitoring for messages, reviews, and other notifications is essential.

Being friendly is still just as important online as it is in person, if not more so. Interactions on social media are noticed very quickly; they can get hundreds of views and shares in a matter of minutes. The wrong response can do a lot of harm, but the right interaction can do just as much good. Even day-to-day interactions, such as crediting your customers or acknowledging indirect comments, will go a long way.

Another tip is to be transparent by using names instead of keeping things impersonal. After all, social media is all about being social! Great customer service starts with creating a relationship with the customer, such as adding a personal touch. If a comment has a customer’s name, incorporate that into your greeting. Doing so helps bring some humanization to the reply and lets customers feel a real person heard them.

Learn to listen and engage on different platforms

How you engage and interact with your customers will vary depending on what platform you are using. It’s just as important to know your platform, as it is to understand the audiences that use it. Facebook, for example, is all about engaging with your customers with the 80/20 rule. Combine entertainment with information in a way that will still draw in customers. Since Facebook is a more informal platform, it’s a great place to foster a brand community. Customers will readily engage with Facebook posts through comments, likes or shares.

Twitter, on the other hand, is all about short and snappy messages and quick updates or comments. Keep in mind that Twitter is much more fast-paced with a constant live stream of tweets. Information comes and goes just as quickly as it takes for a person to reach for their phone and send a tweet. Twitter is also where customers tend to reach out to companies with either comments or complaints or just spur-of-the-moment thoughts. With a 280-character limit, though, there’s only so much you can put in one tweet. If you can’t respond to a tweet within the limit, move the conversation to a private direct message.

Listening to your customers will also play a big role in great customer service, especially with indirect posts. Sometimes, customers will send posts or tweets mentioning a brand, but not tag them. Commenting on these posts, either with a thank you note or to offer help, will go a long way with that customer. It shows proactive attention to your customer’s needs, which will strengthen that customer relationship. To find them, just search your company name on either Facebook or Twitter.

Respond to the good and the bad

Gone are the days where complaints were sent in private emails or phone calls; now, instead, they are publicly posted online. Responding to both the good and the bad is just as important for your brand’s rapport as it is for customer service. Social media engagements, whether good or bad, help build that relationship with customers by showing you are listening and care.

That means you shouldn’t try to ignore negative feedback or try to hide comments by deleting them. Remember that other customers will see how negative comments or reviews are handled and will take note. Angry customers do not like their comments deleted, and can make a bigger fuss online if they see that is what you’ve done. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t make a conversation private. Unless it’s a quick fix or a common question, don’t go back-and-forth publicly. By making the conversation private, it will give your customer some one-on-one focus and care. You can even bring the conversation offline, and give the customer your direct line so they can call you with their concerns. After resolving the problem, be sure to return to the original comment and leave a thank you. Doing so helps “close the loop,” letting everyone know the issue was handled and resolved.

However, if a customer is clearly leaving comments just to start an argument or defame your company, don’t engage. In cases like this, you might want to flag or report their comment or review.

In adapting to a changing model of customer service, never forget what’s truly important: the customers.

Need help with your social media management?

CommAlert offers social media management and support to help with quick and positive social media customer service. For more information about our services, contact us now!