Why You Need To Master Social Media For Customer Service

All the hard work in development and marketing can go down the drain if you do not keep your customers in good humor whenever they require any help. Sometimes they might be having real issues and sometimes they might be on account of a misunderstanding. But you need to respond politely and sort out issues immediately before they snowball. On top of that, there’s no telling when they have a problem and contact you on the fly. You almost need 24/7 availability to ensure that the customers are always taken care of. Otherwise it will not take much time for them to spread negative word of mouth about you. And that’s where using social media for customer care comes in handy!

The most conventional picture of a customer care department reminds us of a call centre with a few employees on the microphone, patiently attending to calls. The drawback of such a system is that firstly you need an army of voice trained employees purely for this job. You may need to invest in a lot for manpower, real estate and if you outsource the function, then in training. This is one of the reasons why many organizations are finding social media of significant use. 

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Why Social Media For Customer Service is a Win

a. It can be done from any place and anytime. If you have a small business you can probably handle it yourself from your bedroom or while you are on the road. It does not take much more effort than your regular social media presence, especially if you are a Startup or a small business.

b. No separate real estate or machinery is needed. Even a smartphone is enough and everybody has that anyway.

c. Appearance or voice of the staff is no longer an issue. The only requirement is the knowledge and the right attitude

d. You need to invest time and use social platforms- be available on FB or Twitter and respond. Do not in any case ignore customer grievances.

e. Some issues can easily be resolved via social media and only escalations or bigger issues can be taken up on the phone. Many questions tend to be repeated and so, you can create an efficient road-map to answer similar questions and be ready!

f. As you converse with people, your social engagement and mentions naturally increase. More people notice you and you gain more followers. A resolution gets automatic amplification by a happy customer!

g. Engaging on social media is very direct and potentially offers a very pleasant brand experience. When customers call, they know that they are talking to a certain (outsourced) employee or waiting in a queue. But when the same employee tweets from the brand account, it feels like talking directly to the brand.

h. It leaves a visible trail of the interactions and any other customers can have a look at the responses later on. There is no extra effort needed to save the record.

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Things to Avoid When Using Social Media For Customer Service

a. For very negative customer experiences, pick up the phone. Speaking always adds the personal touch and you do not want the customer or media copy pasting your response all over the Internet. Even if you are polite, an upset customer may want an immediate resolution without sharing a hundred tweets.

b. Always be polite. Funny jokes and sassy responses do not belong in situations where customers are very upset. You need to wow the customer!

c. Respond quickly. Over 42 percent customers expect a response within an hour of their social media connections. It’s ok if you’re not available 24×7 but be sure to train the customer when you’re available. Mention your operating hours on social media. Also, if possible use a separate handle for customer care.

READ MORE: How not to handle negative comments on social media

Concluding thoughts

Social media does make it very easy to interact with the customers. If you have a slightly bigger business with growing number of customers, you can also consider using specialized tools to streamline your processes. For instance, Mention that works like Google alerts in the social space. So, when anybody mentions your brand name in any social network, it detects that and lets you know. You can use this to find out if somebody is complaining about your service and take corrective action. Many other tools are also available for you to work with. Given your customers may not complain to you directly but take it up on social media, it is your early warning system. Using social media for customer service is not a choice, it is the need of the hour!

Enakshi Sharma

Digital Storyteller at Brandanew
Enakshi is a storyteller, curator (India Art Fair, 2015), anchor (May Queen, 2015), research associate (Centre for Civil Society, India), a travel writer and a blogger. She's a Digital Storyteller for Brandanew.