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Social Media can be your best Customer Service tool – if you use it correctly.

Consumers are so used to being connected and getting information quickly that picking up the phone has become ‘like so 2002’. Yes we are pretty lazy when it comes to wanting and expecting customer service but why shouldn’t we expect it? One of my pet peeves is businesses that have social media pages but do not use them. What is the point? Don’t have a link to your Twitter or Facebook page on your website if you do not want people to look at it or contact you on it. You are not only wasting everyone’s time, you are seriously pissing off your potential customers.

One study by Nielsen revealed that 67 per cent of people have used a business’ social media page in order to request service or deal with an issue. One in three social media users prefer obtaining customer service via social media than by contacting businesses using the telephone. It is NOT hard to provide great customer service on social media.

  1. Have the right mindset – if you think of social as a pain than don’t use it. If you take the right attitude about it then it can be an extremely valuable customer research and service tool that can allow you to really understand your audience.
  2. Train your staff – Active use and understanding of social media can be a challenge for some staff, especially those of an older generation who have not grown up with social media and may not use it in their out-of-work life.  Cross-train your staff on social media usage and etiquette. There is often an overlap between marketing and customer service and it can be helpful to come up with some guidelines for best practice and encourage marketing and customer service staff to work together. This is something that Jetstar and Telstra need to learn!
  3. Respond QUICKLY – people expect faster responses on social media. I see this often with big brands who don’t monitor their social channels over weekends or into the evening and can go days without responding. Massive fail! If you don’t have the resources to manage 3 social channels, don’t promote or use them.
  4. Listen and answer questions – do not give form responses. Nothing I hate more as a consumer than getting some form response which doesn’t answer my question. Hear that Twitter & Linked In!!  Be positive and always provide more information than what is requested – don’t be defensive and remember everyone can see your response so being negative to one person can mean hundreds of people see it and are forming an impressions of your brand based on how you react.
  5. Be genuine – Your prospective customers need to see that you are paying attention, have a genuine interest in solving problems and that you respond promptly. Also understand how to deal with abusive complaints by taking them ‘offline’ to avoid consumers being affected by others issues with you, or to avoid customers who complain having to disclose personal information in a public forum

Think social as a service and see the difference in how your customers react to your brand.