One of the beauties of social media is that it takes down the barriers between you and your customers. While it used to be that a customer would have to go into your store or give you a call to say hello or ask a question, it’s now possible to do so with a few taps on a social app.
Different customers want to use social media for different things. Some are all about spreading the love, tagging your brand when they’re enjoying the product or service they recently purchased from you.
Others like to use it as a public platform to complain; we’ve all seen posts from unhappy airline customers who are dealing with long delays or missing luggage. Some use it just to get answers to questions they have about your business, products, or services.
While you never know what kind of interactions you’re going to get, you want to be prepared for anything that comes your way! What you need is the right social media customer service strategy or strategies. Here are my top three tips.
Social Media Customer Service Strategy 1: Respond Quickly
Social media is all about immediacy. If someone is reaching out to your business on social–whether it’s to express the good, the bad, or the ugly–they’re expecting a quick response.
For customer service inquiries, response time can mean the difference between winning over a new customer or losing them to your competitor. If you own a flower shop and someone direct messages (DMs) you on Instagram, asking what time you close today, you want to respond before the end of business! This is clearly someone who’s in a pinch–maybe they’ve forgotten their wife’s birthday, or they have a friend who just got a big promotion. They need a florist ASAP, and if you don’t respond, they’ll just go elsewhere.
This holds even more true with complaints. It can be intimidating to respond to a public complaint–particularly if the customer seems really upset–but it’s way worse to let it sit. That anger will only stew and grow with each passing moment that you hide behind your keyboard.
Social Media Customer Service Strategy 2: Follow Up
After you’ve reached out, stay in touch until you’re sure the customer’s question or issue is resolved. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than being in dialogue with a business, getting 90% of an answer, and then having the business go radio silent.
Again, this is particularly true with complaints. Be sure you’re following up on the original post until the customer is fully satisfied. Then, take it a step further by sending a private note, apologizing again and extending an additional offer to make things right.
Social Media Customer Service Strategy 3: Create a Dedicated Position
If you’re able, it’s a smart move to create a dedicated position for monitoring social media interactions. With various platforms to juggle and some interactions drawing on over the course of a few days, it’s easy for something to fall through the cracks accidentally when it’s being handed from one person to the next.
If you’re not able to have one team member dedicated to social media customer service, make sure you have a solid customer service management system in place. A program that allows you to create tickets for each inquiry and close them as they’re resolved can keep things seamless, even if they’re being managed by multiple people.
Social media is great because it’s a quick, easy way to connect with your customers. But that also means you need to have the resources in place to handle questions or complaints in a quick, efficient manner when they come in through social channels. Part of an effective social media customer service strategy is having the resources in place to get the job done.