Resolving customer service issues on social media can be tricky and intimidating, but sometimes you still have to do it. Companies that aren’t afraid to respond to customer queries online are perceived as more honest and transparent. Being helpful and respectful to your customers while solving problems in the public eye of social media shows a great amount of care and honesty for your company.
“When your company provides great social customer service, you build a relationship not only with a customer, but also with everyone else who sees that interaction online.” – Social Media Examiner
Regardless of how effective providing customer service on social media is for your image, it can still be difficult. Not every client is going to be the ideal client. So here are 5 things you should consider when handling customer service through social media.
Plan For It!
Social media is many things, but it’s also a customer service channel whether you like it or not. You can’t change that, so embrace it!
Everyone has a smartphone and an Instagram account these days. If you don’t get on social media and actively control the story about your company, your followers will. Since it’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive when dealing with customer issues online, plan out how you’re going to address any issues that may arise.
Different kinds of issues on social media might require different responses. Some might require a public response, while others might also want a private message.
Check out these 11 steps to handling customer complaints on social media.
Choose The Right People
It’s really important that you choose the right person or team of people to handle customer service online.
Clients don’t want to feel like they’re talking to a robot or someone who doesn’t care about their issue. So make sure your social media rep has patience and tact and can deal with the more tedious aspects of the job. And make sure the person dealing with it has the specific knowledge to deal with exactly what the client is requiring help with.
On top of all of that, since social media never sleeps, you’re likely to have multiple reps working in shifts so that you can respond in a timely manner. People don’t want to feel like their problems are being ignored. So, work with your social media customer service reps to carve out a voice and identity that aligns with your company’s values. This way, you’ll never miss a beat!
As mentioned before, responding as soon as you can to customer queries online is in your best interest. Timeliness is good customer service, just like it would be in person or over the phone.
Call centres are expensive. If you can get your clients to use social media for customer service, then you don’t need one. So the more you can encourage customers to go to social media with their questions the better. Facebook will even show your followers a quick response badge if you are quick to respond to your messages.
If you can resolve customer issues speedily and on a social media platform, you will save lots of time and prevent your call centres from being bombarded with questions that can easily be solved with a tweet or an Instagram post.
Use Canned Responses, But Sparingly
Canned responses can be really useful! Depending on your industry, you will begin to notice some of the same questions and comments. This means you can start to craft canned responses that are ready to fire off at a moment’s notice. These can be useful when dealing with volume and generic questions.
However, clients don’t like to feel like they are being brushed off, or that their thoughts and questions don’t matter. So make sure you’re still interacting like a human online, and be sincere even when using canned responses!
Know Which Issues Should Be Resolved In Private
If you think an issue is too complex or sensitive to resolve on a public forum, do your best to move it to a private one. That’s what DMs are for!
There’s only so much you can do about trolls. Fighting with them online over and over again can end up going nowhere and just tarnish your image.
“You already know you can’t please everyone, so prepare for the inevitable negative comment or complaint. / Create a process to provide clear direction on handling customer service through social media for your business. / Guidelines are important to document and follow, as consistency can only strengthen your overall brand building.” – Fresh Sparks
Customer service is not just about mitigating viral disasters online, it’s also about delighting your clients and providing them with real value. At the end of the day, your clients just want to be heard and for their problems to be respected. So be respectful and follow these tips – you’ll be off to a great start!
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This blog post was originally published in June 2019 and has been edited to improve accuracy and readability.