The ability for customers to publicly share their frustrations, complaints and issues remains a great concern for businesses and brands on social media.
Some businesses relieve this concern by jacking up their privacy settings to keep unhappy customers from being able to openly express their feelings on official social channels. On blogs and websites they’ll prohibit comments from being posted. And they’ll outright ignore using social media platforms that don’t allow for heavy censorship.
These, of course, are not productive solutions. If customers cannot express their discontentment on business’ official social media channels, they’ll express their discontentment elsewhere, where it’s more difficult to monitor, track and address.
So, how can businesses effectively provide customer service on social media while not having their profile be overrun by negativity?
Provide a better, more reliable product or service
Obvious, I know, but if you are finding that your business’ social media channels are being overrun by negativity, maybe it’s time to consider making a few changes to your business to mitigate this. Listen to what the complaints are, document them, identify trends, and make some adjustments. Your customers will be happy that you listened to them, and new purchasers will have greater confidence that you will work to assure their confidence in your product or service in the future.
Respond to customer service concerns publicly
For many businesses, chances are high that if one customer has a certain issue, that many others my have similar concerns. Responding to customer service issues publicly can help to mitigate the chance of issues being repeatedly expressed, as the solution provided to one customer will work well for any others with a similar problem.
Create an archive of responses for easy search
Building on the previous point, consider collecting and archiving customer service complaints and resolutions in an easily searchable format. Not only will you be creating a valuable ‘self-serve’ customer service or troubleshooting resource for other customers, but you’ll effectively build trust by being transparent, and not trying to hide every bit of negativity about your business.
Treat each concern seriously
Customer service is an opportunity to interact at a one-on-one level with your customers, which for many businesses, can be a rare opportunity. This is a chance to renew their faith in your product or service, resolve issues they have, show them that you are willing to support and stand behind your offering, and show them that they are your number one priority. No matter the scale of customer service issue you are dealing with, it should be treated with import and care.
Track responses and follow-up to ensure problems were resolved
The adage, ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’, should not apply to your social media customer service efforts. Over deliver on expectations by tracking customer service issues, and follow-up within a reasonable time period to ensure that no further problems have arisen since your last interaction. Over delivering in the area of customer service is a tremendous opportunity to convert negative experiences to trust, brand loyalty, advocacy and more.
Have a process in place to speed up response times
Counter to what I would have initially expected, recent studies indicate that satisfaction ratings for customer service via voice, chat, and email still remain higher than through social media. Customers demand real-time, or near real-time responses to their customer service inquiries, and not many businesses or brands are able to live up to those expectations via social media. Do your best to keep your customer service speedy by having a well planned process in place to ensure your community managers are equipped to confidently reply to your valued customers quickly and accurately.
Have you had any great experiences with social media customer service?
Have you had any terrible experiences with social media customer service?
How do you provide customer service through social media?
Do you have any additional customer service tips to share?
It would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial