Raise your hand if it’s been more than 6 months since you picked up the phone and called someone for a customer service reason? Now, let’s take away calls to your phone, internet and cable providers. How many of you have your hands raised? I’m willing to bet it’s a lot!
Here’s the thing, as an internet savvy society we’ve gone away from the phone call. We text, tweet, and Facebook our friends and use group messages and DMs to share news or make plans. Heck, I even text my mom to say hi and ask about the holidays. What we also have to recognize is that fewer and fewer people are choosing to make a call for customer service issues.
The social media savvy want to pick up their phones and tweet at a brand for help or send a private message to a Facebook page with a detailed question. People want easy and fast – using social media is at many peoples finger tips all day everyday. There’s no hold music when you send a tweet and there’s no frustrating voice operated menu to navigate Facebook. To a new generation THIS IS THE WAY there’s no use trying to fight it. As they say, resistance is futile.
So, what can you do to make sure that your excellent customer service reputation stays intact in these changing times?
1) Be available.
Do more than just answer questions on your social media platforms. Share information about your brand, products and services across your social media platforms. And when customers or potential customers do have questions, make a point of answering them as promptly as possible. Depending on the size of your brand, prompt may mean different things, the important thing is to answer and be available.
2) Be knowledgeable.
It’s not enough to have someone who is internet-savvy running your day-to-day social media. You need to have someone who knows about your products and services so that they can answer questions and complete requests in a timely manner, with thorough information. Customers asking questions online expect the same quality response that they would get through traditional customer service channels.
3) Be visible.
There will be times when questions come in that aren’t flattering to your brand. Your first instinct is going to be to take it out of the public eye. However, it is in your best interests to address those tough questions publicly, even if it’s to request a change of venue to private messages, email or phone. Showing your audience that you’re not afraid to address the tough questions is a great way to gain their trust.
4) Be concise.
On Twitter you’re dealing with 140 characters at a time, that’s not a lot of room for a wordy answer. Get in, give the answer and get out. Link them to your website. Ask them for a DM. If you need to tell them to call you for more info or help, that can be an answer too!
5) Know where the line is.
Customer Service via Social Media will not end the need for your brand to provide traditional customer service, it is a supplementation. There will be times when the questions, complaints, etc. that your customers have can not be completely resolved online. You need to know when it is best to take the conversation to the phone and have things resolved quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Excellent customer service has always separated great brands from good brands. Now that customer service is evolving, you have to evolve with it in order to be the best. Social Media is an excellent way to present yourself as approachable, available and able to help. Do it right and people will be talking about you with great praise.