Social media is one of today’s most important communication tools between your brand and your customers. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and others have given companies direct lines of conversation with the people who buy their products and services. This accessibility allows companies to relate to their consumers in a way that was never before possible. One of the most effective ways to use your company’s social media presence is to compliment your customer service initiatives and gain insight and feedback from past, current, and future customers. Here are 5 tips to best apply social media as a customer service tool:
1. Respond to positive user feedback. Small companies can use this on a larger scale, thanking or following-back each follower for their support. For larger companies with a larger social media following, this tip is more specific to positive comments. If you get a good comment or a good review from a social media follower, take a minute to post a quick, public, “thank you” to that follower, stating their name and mentioning any other relevant points. For example, let’s say you’re a restaurant and you post an Instagram photo of a popular dish. Susie comments “yum, that’s my favorite!” Your social media manager should always comment back with a comment such as, “Thanks, Susie! We’ll be serving this dish for 20% off next Tuesday night. We hope to see you!” Personalizing your comments makes it clear to your followers that there is a human on the other end, not a robot.
2. Respond to negative comments, too. Not all feedback is positive feedback. It’s never a good idea to avoid or delete negative comments on your company page. Instead, approach these comments with the same sense of friendly customer service as you would use with positive feedback. If a customer comments on your page recollecting a negative experience with your brand, you should take a few key steps. First, publicly (on the same post) apologize to the customer for their bad experience and tell them you would like to try to find a solution. Next, you should try to reach out to the disgruntled customer privately. Either send him/her a private message, or post a direct phone number or email address to reach a representative who can address service concerns. We recommend trying to limit your public interaction at this point. Once you have made a public apology, the matter must be addressed in private.
3. Tread lightly on viral topics and apologize if you make a mistake. There have been very well-known brands to make mistakes on social media, accidentally posting things they didn’t realize would be offensive. If you have to comment on a viral topic, such as something political or another large newsworthy event, craft your messages carefully. Of course, it’s not always necessary to stay silent during pervasive news events and everyone wants to stay relevant. However, if you have to speak, speak with care: think of the people reading your messages and how they may be affected by your words. If you do make a mistake, apologize quickly and extensively.
4. Ask for reviews; encourage feedback. Unless they are encouraged, reviews are only likely if a customer has an extremely good or extremely bad experience with your brand. Because most experiences tend to be more in the middle ground, and hopefully more positive than negative, it’s important to encourage your social media followers to give you their feedback and reviews. Simply asking in-store on online for customers to give you reviews will likely help increase your online feedback! Customers like to feel that their voices are being heard.
5. Always monitor chatter with your social management tools. Use a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to easily monitor all of your social media platforms together. These tools can notify you when users comment or give other feedback on any of your pages, and allow you to more quickly respond. Your brand must “always” be online. Let your analytics tool be your eyes and ears, and sign up for notifications on user comments. Beyond what’s going on within your own social pages, it’s also important to monitor chatter that could be going on online within other spheres. For example, there may be information about your company on a community page or on a user’s personal profile. Management and analytics tools will help you search for those occurrences and monitor any chatter you should be aware of.
Overall, the keys to using social media for customer service are to be honest and aware. Do your best to represent your brand online in a positive way and be vigilant in keeping your customers happy.
If you need help with your social media management, let Triple R Marketing help! We have experts in content creation, user engagement, and online customer service.