Whether your customers are tweeting about how much they love your product, or complaining about your return policy on facebook, it’s out there for everyone to see. Customers now expect customer service via social media, with over 50% of customers expecting customer service through a company’s social media accounts. If you’re still not convinced, consider this: in a poll conducted by Conversocial, 88% of customers said they were less likely to purchase from a company that ignored social complaints. Leveraging your social presence to provide better customer service is an effective strategy to attract and build your customer base. So how can you turn the chatter into excellent customer service?
Listen and learn: why waste energy explaining your way of doing something (or not doing something) when you can improve your offerings by listening to what customers really want. Monitor comments and social media, and start tracking the frequent comments and questions.
Answer the burning questions: sometimes good customer service can be as simple as reminding customers about your products and policies. If you find that many people are asking you the same question, take the time to address the question on your FAQ, create a how-to guide, or a quick video to share on social media.
Acknowledge your number one fan: is there someone who loves your product so much they’ve blogged/tweeted/pinned about it? Be sure to thank them and share their content with your other followers.
Respond to comments and mentions: If you’re not listening to social media channels, you might be ignoring your customers. Most people expect that if you have a social media account, it means you’re available to connect. Consider your social media accounts right up there with phone and email. You wouldn’t dream of responding to a customer’s email three weeks later, well the same goes for that Facebook comment.
Get friendly with your influencers: If there’s a blogger or instagrammer that your customers follow, make sure you’re friends with them too. Following these key influencers will provide you insights into what your customers are interested in, and ideally help you establish a relationship with your influencers for future endorsements.
Crowdsource ideas through customer feedback: Are you working on new ideas for your business? Get your customers and followers involved through social media. People love to get creative and share their ideas.
Deal with negative feedback ASAP: Once you’re listening to customers on social media, be sure to respond to any negative feedback ASAP. Mistakes happen. Taking a positive and helpful approach to any customer complaints will go a long way to establishing trust with potential customers. There are times when the customer isn’t right (or is just plain rude), in that case, be sure to remain positive in your comments, and take the conversation offline.
Easy enough? or are you starting to feel overwhelmed by the limitless customer service channels? While larger firms are opting to hire entire social Customer Service teams, this is unrealistic for new entrepreneurs. Luckily, there are many great social media tools for you to use to make this process much easier.
Google Alerts is a very rudimentary listening tool that can be used to setup alerts anytime your product or business or a key term related to your product or business is mentioned on the web. Unfortunately, this tool will not include results from social media or most blog posts. It’s free and very easy to setup, and while it barely scratches the surface, you will at the very least have some type of monitoring setup.
Many entrepreneurs use Hootsuite to pre-plan their social media posts, but did you know that you can use this tool to monitor your brand’s mention on social media? Hootsuite is a social media dashboard that lets you monitor, post and interact via social media. Hootsuite provides the tools necessary to monitor direct mentions on social media, as well as setup individual streams for key terms or phrases. You can also setup templates for your most frequent responses.
For more information on how to use Hootsuite as a listening tool, check out their blog post on the topic.
Sprout Social is another great social media dashboard. Much like with Hootsuite you can listen, plan and view in-depth social analytics reports. As far as social Customer Service, Sprout Social has one key advantage over Hootsuite – is it’s integration with Zen Desk. Zen Desk is a customer service application that let’s small to larger sized businesses deliver customer support through an integrated system. This partnership allows you to use both tools to seamlessly turn a customer’s tweet into a support ticket.
In terms of function, the Mention App falls somewhere between Google Alerts and a social media dashboard like Hootsuite. Mention lets you monitor for key words and phrases, as well as, you guessed it – mentions. This tool lets you respond in real time, save for later, or delegate the task to a team member.
More than ever, customers are using social media for customer service issues. By leveraging your social media accounts to provide customer service you will not only be able to meet individual customer’s needs, but you will have the opportunity to showcase your awesome customer service for everyone to see. While it might seem overwhelming to communicate using so many different channels and tools, there are many great tools you can use to aggregate your accounts and track your results.