16th February 2017

How to provide excellent customer service on social media

How to provide excellent customer service on social media

When something goes wrong for one of your customers, the first thing they often try to do is contact you via one of your social media channels expecting rapid response and instant resolution. This is all the more common if your brand is producing products intended specifically for Millennials. These are the customers for whom social media is a primary means of communication. Its immediacy and accessibility makes it hugely popular amongst this consumer set and they are likely to send you an influx of queries through these channels. It’s not just the younger generation – older people have been found to turn to Twitter to vent their frustrations and occasionally report success stories when it comes to their experiences with your brand. It is vital that you put in place a way of dealing with social media communications.

It is often recommended that you put in place customer relationship management (CRM) in order to collate data on all of your customers, enabling you to create a snapshot of whom each of your customers are, which includes all your previous dealings with them and all their demographic information. This means that when your customers initially get in touch with you on social media, you are able to offer a response and a service that is personalised. You can make your customers feel valued by talking to them in a manner that implies you are aware of who they are and all their previous dealings with you. This creates a more intimate relationship between you and your customer, potentially putting them at ease and making them feel less of a statistic and more of a valued human being. The slight drawback of this approach is that some consumers can feel violated when you make it obvious that you know all about their particulars. Your customers might be private and protective over their information. In this case it’s not necessarily a good idea to immediately reveal that you know exactly who they are. The choice is yours, but it’s a difficult thing to get right. You may want to decide how much you let on you know once you have gauged the tone of your communications and worked out if your customers are the sort that would appreciate you knowing about them or would find it intrusive.

Response rates are key in helping you provide excellent customer service on social media. You need to respond to your customer’s communications straight away, or at least as quickly as you can. Their requests may be urgent and they may require immediate reassurance. If your customer is already upset with you the last thing they will want is to be kept waiting. It is well worth your while to keep reiterating this message to your customer service team. Response rates should ideally never exceed 15 minutes. There are response rates and then there is the rate at which you can resolve problems. There is no point in responding quickly if you don’t resolve problems efficiently. You must really understand your products, your customers and your capabilities and remain well equipped to resolve worries.

You might be tempted to ask your customers to direct message (DM) you when they have requests or concerns. This is perhaps because you are dealing with sensitive information and there are data protection issues involved. However, customers are often irritated by this sort of request. It requires them to perform extra functions and it also looks as though your brand is trying to avoid any negative PR at the expense of dealing quickly with any issues. One solution here is the use of technology that reroutes any social media queries to a live chat function where issues can be dealt with in private. This is, of course, expensive and may not be available to your company.

If you receive a high number of requests and messages on social media, you need to work out a system whereby you prioritise which requests are the most important. You should have your own criteria to help you do this. It is important that you head straight to what you deem the most pressing queries as this will help you get through things quicker and avoid irritating the customers who are already wound up.

Consumers have a different expectation of customer service on social media than they do on other platforms. It is paramount that you respond swiftly and succinctly to messages in order to satisfy an

already-rattled customer. You need to know your products and your capabilities inside and out in order to deliver solutions and suggestions swiftly and effectively. It may be the case that you actually need more customer service staff in order to deliver this level of service.

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