Have you ever had a problem with something where you had to dial up that company’s number, listen to an automation recording, choose your number, and then wait for what seems to be an eternity on hold? That is a slow process isn’t it?

With the power of social you can now pass the phone, pass the waiting, pass the frustration, and have a front row seat to the voice of the business. So now that the customer and follower has a direct connection to your brand, you have to be on your toes in your communication.

Do you have certain strategies set in place to help your brand with the best customer service it can give? Here’s some tips you should recognize.

#1: Social Listening

One thing every serious marketer needs to be doing is to set up their social listening strategy. Monitor what people are saying about you. Take the time to answer the question before it is asked. Learn what the problem is in advance. Learn how to produce answers and help from social listening.

Don’t get social listening confused with social monitoring. In short, social monitoring sees trees and social listening sees the forest.

When you are able to successfully listen as a brand, you have succeeded in looking beyond the numbers and what the data can tell you about any one thing. It helps you to stay informed and personal with the follower and the customer, and they will always tell you what they need.

Do I have time for social listening?

Whether you’re a solopreneur on a journey to take control of the world or a large company, you should try to make as much time as you can to listen. This is such a tricky one too because time in itself is a tricky little devil.

Time can sneak up on you fast or it can occupy your attention on something that you could be doing later. Time is a raging beast and should be kept under lock and key.

When you can control your time, you can control your success.

Learn to manage your time on social wisely by setting up some social media mention notifications to help your brand never miss anything when someone is trying to contact you.

Don’t fight time, work with it.

Social listening, as with anything else, can take a chunk of this away. Regulate a part of your day for this. And anyone who is human has goofed off at least 10 minutes a day doing something they know is not productive.

That’s the funny thing about time, there’s so little of it. There are some great tools you can use to help manage your time a little more wisely.

Here are some social listening tools to get you started:

#2: Find The Social Network Your Audience Is In

If you’re going to do social media customer service correctly you have to be ready to be present on pretty much all of them. However, it’s always a good thing to know where the foundation of your customers and followers reside.

Here is where you get to know your customer and audience.

The best thing for anyone to do on social media is to build relationships with your customers, get to know them, let them get to know your brand and what you have to offer.

It’s not that you’re going to start selling to them right away, but for the simple reason when you take the time to be engaging and communicate early on, then it will be easier to perform social media customer service right in the future for that person.

How Do I Know Where They’re At?

Using social listening and social monitoring you can start to peep in on conversations and engagement. Where is most of the conversation about what you have to offer happening?

This will take a bit of testing and time, but it is a worthwhile practice. Involve yourself in conversations on different platforms to test the waters of need. People will tell you what they want, plus there will also be other ways to learn if a platform is right for you by various searches that the platform in question brings to the table.

From there you can find the people that need help or need what you have to offer. From this customer service standpoint, it’s important to know where your audience is at because of the relationship and bonding experience it will bring you in the future.

#3: Be Consistent

One of the many things I see some of the brands who “don’t get it” is the simple truth that they’re not consistent with social. They are not consistent with engagement and getting to know me as a customer.

You can always tell when a brand is more interested in selling something to you than getting to know you. Those are usually the companies that haven’t had that epiphany of true relationship building on social media yet. It’s usually those brands that get social media customer service wrong.

#4: Answer Fast

Remember sitting on the phone waiting for that company to respond to your question? You wait and you wait. That’s a waste of time for you, and time is money.

The faster you can help someone the better off your brand is going to look in their eyes. You will be graded on how fast you respond and how well you act when you respond to people. Never misunderstand the value of answering fast in a customer service situation.

Be speedy and efficient and get to the root of the problem as quickly as you can because your customer could be on a deadline, have an appointment later, or just needs to be consoled right away.

#5: Focus on Helping

Remember that old saying “The customer is always right?” Sometimes the customer is wrong though. It could be through a fault of your brand misrepresenting, or it could be because they simply don’t understand what’s going on. It could be a lot of different things. The one thing you should always remember is the resolution. Have a goal to help the customer/follower resolve the issue in the end.

One of the greatest social media customer service stories ever told was about a man who had a two hour layover at an airport. On his way to another destination, he tweeted to a restaurant, jokingly of course, he would love to have them meet him at this airport with a Porterhouse steak.

To his surprise, the steak was waiting on him, hand delivered by the restaurant…and with extras too!

You can never do too much for someone. Take it upon yourself to never grade the importance of any one customer on social media. Just make it a point to remember every request, every question, every comment, is a highly important one to your brand.

This is what will make you stand out to people.

#6: Remember Who You Represent

It lies with you.

Always be courteous and professional and refrain from putting a black eye on the company you’re working for. Every employee is an extension of the person that created the company, and it’s always a good thing to think that you are the owner, even when you’re not, because this will help you get the most out of the representation.

You are a brand inside the brand. People respond to you. The fact you work for a great company is just icing on the cake because you are completing the task at hand by always going the distance.

You extend yourself to your customers, you bring in more business, you build more relationships, and solidify your own personal brand with others all while taking care of the company you work for.

The Final Word

People have the opportunity to contact you in a more intimate and personal way on social now. Some would think this is an invasion of business privacy. However, the people who see it as an opportunity to grow their business by using social media as a customer service platform will be the brands who pass their competitors in leaps and bounds.

Do your part. Whether you are an individual, or working with thousands of other employees, it always comes down to two.

Them. And you.

Wade Harmon, content manager at JS PR Services, contributed to this article.