Customers love to provide feedback and companies like to hear it. The internet and social media become the channel which unites the two, providing a better world for all.
Social media has become one of the most important aspects of an online commitment that a reputed company adheres to today. The internet is seen as a medium that allows people to connect with their peers. However, companies decipher it as the channel with which to connect to their customers on various levels.
Feedback, queries and grievances are, quite frequently, expressed by customers through social media. As a result, social media professionals double-up customer support professionals.
The social habit research identified an interesting fact about the expectation for social customer service. It revealed that 42% of consumers that complain using social media expect a 60-minute response time.
Many customers frequently talk about companies and their brands over the internet. They recommend them to their friends, complain and whine about them and have discussions regarding to them. This makes it a huge platform to tap into.
So, let us analyse how companies can leverage social media to provide a better service to their customers and increase in their own goodwill.
1. Make it Easy for Customers and Companies to Connect
As an individual user, you might have an account a Twitter or Facebook account. We are quite confident that in today’s digital age, you are most likely to be active and frequent with your use of them. Companies can exploit this social media phenomenon to connect with millions of people at once.
Likewise, customers can easily communicate with companies to provide them with feedback and comments. My friend at Tagove live chat stated that “Gone are the days when customers were required to e-mail or call to lodge a complaint and then had to wait an eternity for the response. This resulted in poor customer feedback and a lack of grievance accountability for both the customer and the company. It turned what used to be a headache into a subsequently fast process. Technology has changed the way companies handle customer service. They prefer real-time communication channels like social media, live chat for solving customer’s problem.”
Multinational companies, like Amazon, use social media to reach out to their customers hoping to serve them in the best possible way.
Apart from its 26 million Facebook fans, Amazon also used the #AmazonCart hashtag a couple of years back to allow Twitter users to shop directly.
Yes, social media has changed everything for the greater good. Customers can now easily access a company’s website and either lodge a complaint or provide feedback in the message box, on the wall or in the comments.
Companies tend to respond to these messages quite quickly because not doing so can result in their embarrassment. Most companies also encourage their customers to visit their site and provide feedback on their social media pages. They understand that it is one of the best ways to connect with their customers, regardless of the outcome of the connection.
Apart from that, companies can also use the plethora of options that social media provides them with. From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Hangout, there are several social media options for companies to exploit when they want to directly contact and connect with their customers.
2. Prioritize Complaints Made on Social Media
Customers tend not to share their experiences with a company unless something either exceeds their expectations or dissatisfies them in some way. Neither customers nor clients are too shy to use social media to vent their frustrations with your service or product.
Many multinational companies regularly face the wrath of their customers when something goes wrong. Some companies choose to ignore it while others take it more seriously.
Research made by Maritz and Evolve24 shows that customers appreciate it, when company responds to their complaints
Check out these statistics:
- People are 25% more likely to buy a product that they would be proud to own if it had social media buttons identified next to it.
- 83% of people who complained on Twitter loved the response from those companies that did make the effort.
- 77% of business to consumer (B2C) companies have acquired customers from Facebook as opposed to the 42% of business to business (B2B) companies. (Source)
The most-reputable businesses always give priority to complaints and negative comments. The difference between the two is that complaints are generally made by customers while baseless negative (and downright abusive and insulting) comments can come from rivals or trollers. That’s because no customer exists that doesn’t want a quick solution to their issue.
Unfortunately, a company has to deal with complaints promptly so as to be sure that they come up with the goods when a customer looks for it. Also, when it comes to negative and hate-based comments, both the companies and their social media response cells have to resolve the matter quickly. They must identify the problem as well as the cause of the problem.
As per a well-known statistics, nearly 30 percent of users go online and provide negative comments about companies and their brands.
Crisis management has to be achieved in order to contain any public relations (PR) disaster or additional negative viral comments. The best thing to do is: get to the bottom of the story, apologize for whatever the company did that was wrong and explain that if the company believes the issue does not warrant an apology then everyone can be friends again! Furthermore, you can refer to this great article from Social Media Examiner on how to deal with social media trolls.
In this example, you can see how O2 answers to a troll with a humorous advice. Humour can be used, but only if it's done tactfully
3. Listen to the Customer and Provide a Response
One of the most important core objectives has to do with social media customer support. A company may do all the talking but when it comes to customer support, you have to learn to listen to the customer first as well as understanding what he or she wants to say. The business then needs to reply, given how much it means to a customer.
Whole Foods Market provides a great customer experience on their Twitter. They are answering to tweets and engaging with customers
Forbes stated latest trends and changes in customer service expectations.
Most importantly, customers are simply confused and can easily be accommodated with a simple answer. Therefore, check out what they have to say and then answer them appropriately and as soon as possible. Finally, if you believe that some questions are asked too frequently by many customers then make a simple FAQ page or post and answer questions there. This will result in everyone saving time!
4. Give the Humanistic Touch With Social Media
“We don’t have a choice on whether we DO Social Media; the question is how well we DO it?” – Erik Qualman.
Throughout the years, customer Support has gotten a bad reputation for providing poor customer service (being utterly unfriendly to the actual customers) and brands have paid the price for it!
56% of the customers who have had a poor customer experience, will never use this company again
Things have recently changed with social media and the internet. These days, companies have become much more interested in providing a more humanistic approach when it comes to customer service. If you run a company, then you should know that the customers hate it when automated and recorded calls or messages greet them.
With social media profiles and accounts, companies can easily assign real people to be the face of the company or, at the very least, its support team. This way, people can relate to the company and its humanistic features.
5. Do Not Use Social Media to Sell or Pursue
When discussing customer support on social media, do not try to push sales. Instead, just stick to pure and simple customer assistance and support, as well as training or suggestions to support your team. Customers hate it when you try to push sales on them in the middle of any type of support or question-answering. If the customer is asking about your products and services, then make sure your team provides all of the details clearly, but do not try to promote or advertise.
Remember that with respect to the comment section and the Wall, other users are watching everything too. Etiquette is vital to your company’s image. There is always a fine line between customer support and marketing; be sure your social media team does not cross it and knows the basics of social media marketing.
So, there you go. These are the 5 most-prominent moves that you can make so as to cater to your customers in a better way with social media. We are confident that these tips will assist you with your company’s customer support. The social media team must then work to effortlessly achieve the core objectives.
Photo Credit: Visual Hunt