8 Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Customer Service

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Social Media Customer Service is becoming more and more important. The unique edge that social media has over other customer service channels is the ability for consumers to interact and engage with brands more directly than ever before without the hassle and additional cost that you would have with calling a company. Providing the right customer support on social media presents an enormous opportunity for brands to deliver a great customer experience.

Providing social customer service, however, is not without its pitfalls. As interactions increasingly happen on social media, the visibility of those interactions to other customers becomes greater and greater, with potential (bad) PR risks. To help you provide the best Social Media Customer Service, I’ve listed the 8 Do’s and Don’ts of Social Customer Service.

The Do’s of Social Media Customer Services

1. Always follow up with your customer.
Always go out of your way to follow up with customers to see if you successfully solved their issue. Sometimes message notifications get lost in different inboxes, and the customer, therefore, might not see your response. Set up a procedure to make sure these cases are followed up within a few days. Show your customer that you care about whether they got your message, it’s a fool-proof way to make your customer happy, even if you could not provide the solution they wanted.

2. Research your customer’s case History on all channels.
Based on a study of 2,500 Americans, 94% percent say customer service should have the most up-to-date information, no matter which support channel they use. The best customer support doesn’t require asking information the customer has already provided or that you should have in your database, even if a different agent handled the case. The most efficient companies have an integrated CRM to handle all support channels in one platform, ensuring the case history is always easily accessible. Even if you choose to use different CRM tools, most of the tools nowadays can be integrated to track your customer, even if the customer called first and later complained on Facebook.

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3. Keep private information private.
If you have the correct processes set up, you shouldn’t have to ask a customer for their phone number in a public forum. If your customer is commenting on a post that reached 10,000 people about their missing order of shoes, you have to bring the customer into a private message in order to get their details. Most customers understand this, but if they don’t, be polite and hide any replies they make that include personal information, so no one else sees it.

4. Work together with Marketing.
If your Social Customer Support team is the only entity responding to customers, Marketing and the Community Managers should work side-by-side to align in terms of engagement and content creation. Since the social support team is closest to the customer, they might have good suggestions about content that will appeal to your customers and increases engagement.

The don’ts of social media customer service

5. Do not ignore angry customers, no matter how rude.
We all get them – the customers that set out to destroy your public image because they didn’t get what they were expecting. Now that social customer service is all the hype, customers have seen many cases where other customers complaining on social media received special attention or were even rewarded in a way that a customer calling or sending an e-mail would not have. This might inspire customers complaining on social media to expect special treatment. Denying a customer special treatment might not sit so well with some, but it’s important to ALWAYS respond and be willing to help. Show other customers that you are responsive, and are making an effort. When it turns out you are dealing with a troll that won’t be happy no matter what you do, and that gets very rude, you can choose to stop responding. Respect and normal communication goes both ways, and the majority of your other customers understand that social “trolls” are a pain to deal with, but what matters is that a brand is prepared to deal with them head-on.

6. Don’t refer customers to a different channel.
Customers expect a seamless customer experience. They don’t expect nor want to be sent back and forth between phone, email, chat, or social in order to resolve their issue. Create a workflow to be able to handle any type of case through any channel. That means, if you need to replace a customer’s cell phone or cancel their monthly magazine subscription, you should be able to do that through a private message on Facebook, a phone call, or an online chat conversation.

7. Don’t let angry customers band together.
It can happen – one small defect in a long and well-thought-out production can cause a mess on a social page. When one customer sees another with the exact same issue, they will bond and team up to make a bigger impact. Have a plan in place to handle these crises, and be sure to immediately handle each case, one by one, oldest to newest. Keep them as separate as possible, and if needed, broadcast to all customers that you’re already on it, 150%.

8. Don’t offer different levels of service on different channels
In addition to keeping your Marketing and Customer Service teams aligned, don’t keep the support workflow for social media separate from other departments. Companies still tend to be afraid of the public character of social media channels, and are therefore tempted to offer more or other solutions on social media than they would do on other channels. This, however, will come back to you. Customers aren’t only using one channel, and it’s a matter of time before they start posting and complaining about the differences. The same solutions that are given to social customers should also be available for email and phone support.

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