Does social media currently play a role in your customer service strategy? Should it?
Social media is fast becoming the premium channel to help businesses deliver excellent customer service, and as more and more consumers expect to be able to interact with businesses via social media, not having a social media customer service strategy or process in place could mean you are missing out.
In an article published in late 2014, Social Media Today delivered some great stats demonstrating the rise of, and demand for social customer service and the importance consumers place on brands having a social media customer service channel. The key take outs were – customers expect you to be helping them via social media, the time it takes you to respond is really important, and if you nail it they will be 3 x more likely to spread positive WOM about your brand.
However, for some small business, the thought of managing customer service via social media is a daunting prospect. Like no other customer service channel before it, social media increases customer expectations – not only because it is a 24/7 outlet for customers to reach you, it also increases transparency in your approach to handling customer service issues – both good and bad.
If you are thinking of, or currently are, using social media to manage customer service within your business and want to make sure you do it well, here are some quick tips to get you customer servicing like a pro.
4 tips to help you win at social media customer service
1. Allocate resources
Many small businesses come unstuck with their social media because they don’t resource it accordingly, and by resources I mean people. Whilst social media is a business-wide channel that can be managed across a whole team when it comes to customer service on social media, consistency is the key. A good set of guidelines will help with this, but to make them worthwhile you need to have a dedicated resource monitoring and responding on behalf of the business in a consistent, timely and professional tone. If you are a team of one and this falls to you (as well as being the cleaner, finance person and marketing department) all you need to do is allocate time every day to monitor your social media profiles and respond to any customer feedback.
2. Develop social media guidelines
If you don’t already have a set of social media guidelines for your business, now is the time to write them. A good set of guidelines will provide your business, and those responsible for managing social media, direction on how to publish and manage content, as well as how to respond to consumers. Not only that, guidelines will make sure your social media activity acts in a professional manner consistent with the objectives and aims of your business. Most importantly, guidelines can help minimise a crisis, mishaps or mistakes that may happen in social media.
3. Have an escalation process in place
Not all customer service issues are created equal. Given an outlet, consumers can and will either vent and move on, vent and demand action or vent and not let go. Because of this, developing a customer service escalation process will not only help your business manage any major issues accordingly, it will also empower the person managing the social media customer service to deal with minor issues quickly, and escalate those that require senior management input. For more on dealing with negativity on social media – click here.
4. Think outside your platforms
How your business is represented on social media is not just limited to the platforms you manage, so it’s a good idea to regularly monitor other social media environments for mentions of your brand. Implementing a listening strategy as part of your social media marketing sounds complicated, but it’s not, and it should form an essential part of what you do online. There are a number of ways to ‘listen in’, but a simple way to get started is to set up a Google Alert to monitor wider online activity or a social media listening tool to hone in on social media platforms – here’s a great list of available tools. Don’t forget to use common sense also – search well known industry specific or regional forums, and if you are in the hospitality or travel industry, search TripAdvisor and other review sites for mentions of your business. If you find a review – either positive or negative – respond to it and provide great customer service.
As the demand for social media customer service grows, having the ability and know-how to be able to deal with it effectively and efficiently will put you ahead of your competition. Don’t let the thought of it overwhelm you – just follow these simple tips and you will be prepared.
Need help with your social media customer service strategy then drop us a line, we’d love to help.
Max & Buddy are marketing and social media experts. Contact us today and let us help you market your business the best possible way.