Social media is becoming a much more important part of business; from marketing to customer engagement, it’s a necessary evil for every company, big or small. While businesses set out to take on social media as a means to increase marketing efforts, it’s turning into a successful platform for customer service, aka social customer service.
“Indeed, the younger demographic are very much leading the way in this social charge – a heady 71 percent say that the first thing they do when they have a problem with a product is go online, and 7 percent of this group immediately complain about it on social media.” – MediaBistro.com
Engagement is the name of the game, and social customer service is a perfect use of that marketing tool. Whether you’re answering questions or dolling out product tutorials, social networks are a great place to get in touch with customers, address issues and take advantage of these easy connections.
For social customer service to work you have to be engaged. That means you should avoid relying on automation - a program can’t answer questions for you. For social customer service to work you have to be available and interested; a genuine presence for your customer to interact with. Findings show, however, that often companies are ignoring customers, even when asked a question. If you want this to work for you, you must do it right.
- Be present: Answer questions as honestly and quickly as possible. If it’s a question or concern that needs further attention, get into contact via a direct message, or bring up their phone information from your system. Turning a question into a phone call that turns into a new sale is certainly worth the efforts.
- Encourage questions: If you’ve rolled out a new product, ask how it’s going. It’s, of course, important that this is always spun in a positive light – none the less, inviting questions, reviews and concerns can be a smart move.
- Be prepared: Have a plan for negative commentary, especially if you’re inviting opinions. This can be built into your general social media plan, but you should be ready to take action.
Use the Right Software
Right now, you likely use a basic CRM program or call center software to manage your customer files and databases. However, with the switch to social, it’s imperative that you connect your social interactions with your previous phone calls and email correspondences. When all this information is in one place your team can be more productive and solve problems faster, saving time and money for you and the customer. But, before investing in new software, consider your options.
- In The Cloud: Choosing a program that you can access from anywhere will be of utmost importance. Though your work hours end, social media never does. In the case of a weekend crisis, you want to have access to that database for a quick response.
- Mobile App: Get access on your smart phone when you can download the corresponding mobile application; this is especially important if you are responding to questions on the go.
- Free demo: Before you make your purchase, try a variety of demos. You want to be sure you can customize the program and check that it has all the bells and whistles you’ll need.
Getting involved in social customer service is nearly impossible to avoid at this point. By preparing for it, you can take advantage of the many benefits including efficiency, easy access to customers, and a more integrated system.
Photo credit: bradcapone.com