In the beginning of social media for business, social media efforts and campaigns were all marketing focused. However, social media for businesses really has morphed into a hybrid between marketing and customer service communications with customers. In fact, they’re a perfect pairing – they go together like toast and jam.
If your company has ignored this important aspect of social media, then chances are it could be hurting your customer service efforts and hampering the way that you communicate with your customers.
Missing out on important customer communication cues can damage their customer experience and hurt your business.
This article will offer up some tips on how your business can successfully integrate customer service into your social media efforts and improve upon your customers’ experiences.
1/ Plan to respond to social media comments and messages quickly
Most customers that post on your social channels expect an answer within the hour – even if it isn’t during business hours.
There are plenty of tools that you can use to monitor your social media channels for comments and messages.
Depending on how large your company is and the scalability, having the social media team on call 24/7 could be worth it depending on how often comments come through.
2/ Go above and beyond just responding to negative comments
Since social media is about communication, there is an opportunity to go above and beyond just responding. Instead of focusing on putting out fires, social media channels give you the option to communicate with customers and get to know them.
When you go beyond expectations and don’t just fix a problem, you can strengthen the relationship and increase the value of your customer service.
When you make a previously unhappy customer happy, they can become brand advocates for your brand and will remain loyal and steadfast customers.
3/ Empower employees to fix problems
Your social media team needs to be trained in customer service so that complaints can be handled swiftly and expertly. Give your staff not only training, but also power to do something to make it right for the customer.
When customers have to wait for approval or speak to multiple staff members, repeating their gripe, they are likely to become more disgruntled.
Then there are companies like Trader Joe’s that empower their employees to go above and beyond the normal call of duty.
In this case that went viral on Reddit, an employee went above and beyond by delivering groceries to a WWII veteran during a snow storm. The company normally does not deliver, but not only that, the store covered the costs of the groceries.
When you look at the Reddit posting, you can see other stories form other customers who experienced other examples of Trader Joe’s employees’ good will that, no doubt, comes from the top.
This activity creates much more good will, customer loyalty, and business than it costs the company.
4/ Solve problems before they happen
Many companies have customer service teams monitoring social media and daily operations just looking out for customers to try and find resolutions to potential problems before they happen.
Companies like United Airlines have teams that work on protecting the interests of frequent flyers. They help stranded frequent flyers get on earlier flights and make other accommodations when travel plans go awry.
This trend of then blending of social media and customer service will continue to be an important factor in many businesses.