Social media can be the perfect medium for delivering effective customer service. But you have to know and understand what best practice is, as well as continually practice and develop your customer service skills.
When coming into contact with customers in social media, you need to be friendly and professional at all times. It’s easy to spot negative characteristics in online communication and behaviour, so be aware that anything bad that happens spreads like wildfire.
I’ve put together 12 tips to help improve your customer service practices using social media. It would be interesting to hear which customer service tips you think companies would find most important in the comments section.
1. Listen to Your Customers
Never jump to conclusions.
The best thing you can do in social media is listen to your customers, whether they have complaints, questions or praise for your business.
When you listen, people feel appreciated and value the time you spend interacting and participating in conversations.
2. Remain Calm at All Times
Things can quickly escalate in social media.
It’s up to you to remember that customers are usually annoyed for a reason and that most people want their reason to be heard. Don’t take anything personally or anger the situation trying to be clever.
People expect professionalism. One of the best customer service tips is to keep a cool head and remain focused at all times.
3. Be Active
Customers like to see that you’re really there and actively engaging with your audiences. While it’s fine to schedule some posts and activities, monitoring the social media landscape is important.
This is one of the customer service tips to especially take note of because opportunities are often missed otherwise. You lose the ability to rapidly respond to the changing online environment if you’re not active.
4. Be Responsive
When anyone comes in contact with your business, you must be prompt in recognition and response. If a complaint is lodged, you need to acknowledge it as soon as possible and provide a useful answer to alleviate not only the initial concerns, but those of other people with similar problems.
Responsiveness shows that you care, and there’s nothing better to turn potential customers off then having them wait for days, or weeks, for an adequate customer service response.
5. Focus on Resolution
Chances are that the customer only cares about their single concern. The sooner their problem is resolved, the better your customer service.
Don’t get sidetracked or try to add value when situations arise that don’t warrant it. Just focus on what the customer wants you to help them with, no matter how it makes you feel or what perceptions you may have.
6. Know Your Customers
Your customer service practices need to be focused on your customers. In order to achieve this, you must know your customer.
Understand what their common concerns are, what the typical makeup and demographic is, what times they are most active in social media – a whole range of information that you should know and understand.
The more you get to know your customers, the better you will be at dealing with any requests and the stronger the customer service experiences will be.
7. Have a Personality
Nobody wants to have extended discussions with someone boring. There are numerous customer service tips that can be derived from this headline alone, but to provide a simple overview, ensure that you maintain an outgoing and enthusiastic personality when practising customer service.
This could be either your own personality, or the “voice” of the business you are representing, depending on your working role and business practices.
8. Be Human
People don’t want to read updates from a robot. They want to know that there is a human behind the computer. This means starting conversations and reaching out now and then.
This also applies to situations where mistakes have happened – you’re only human, so you need to acknowledge the mistakes, address them appropriately and then create an action plan for redemption.
9. Show Empathy
Your customers need to feel like you’re putting them first and know them. Showing empathy is the best way to do that. It shows that you understand the problems they’re facing and can appreciate just how difficult that is for their needs.
This is one of the customer service tips that is sometimes hard to formulate plans for in advance because it relies on reacting to situations that can quickly come and go.
10. Ask for Feedback
Your customers are your best critics. It’s important to regularly ask for feedback, whether it is for your products or services, a campaign you recently ran, or how you interacted with people.
Social media sites are often the best place for feedback. Reaching out and asking people what they thought also shows a level of care and attention. And letting people know your business wants to hear from them can be empowering.
11. Always Remember the Brand
Avoid getting too personal on business social media accounts and remember that you represent the company you work for. Avoid controversial posts and forced humour. Stick to your content guidelines and marketing calender and ensure you stay on a focused path towards fulfilling your business goals and objectives.
If you are ever in doubt about posting content, chances are it’s not something you should post.
12. Use Tools
There are so many social media tools out there that can help you provide a higher level of customer service. Whether they be tools for social listening, monitoring, measuring, management or marketing, making effective use of existing technology can only work in your favour.
Start Implementing These Customer Service Tips
If your social media marketing campaigns incorporate the fundamental strategies in customer service, then you need to make it a priority to continuously improve and develop your customer service skills and practices.
The customer service tips above will put you on the right path, but it’s down to you and your business to support your vision and start putting the customer and their experiences first.
How many times have you heard a company say they have “first class” or “market leading” customer service and then fail to deliver when it comes to walking the walk?
Have you experienced any horrible customer services moments before?
Which of these customer service tips is most important to you when dealing with business representatives?