“Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to WOW your on-line presence”- Sean Gardner
Social media is probably the most visible and most effective way to get across to your customers and for them to connect with you. Every mobile device now has applications that allow these channels to be ubiquitous and easily accessible. Being able to engage with customers and hearing directly from them about the company and the brand proves to be indispensable and therefore using social media to improve customer service will help you forge ahead. Social media is an invaluable medium and if used effectively it gives an edge to a company to continually improve their market position. Customers used the company’s social media pages to derive value and be updated on the latest and companies are easily able to understand current trends and provide proactive solutions. As a result of this companies can provide even better standards of customer service and gain that competitive edge that is so crucial and powerful.
The companies that use social media to improve customer service, they have noticed a significant improvement in customer loyalty and support. It proves to be a key differentiator between success and failure. Elevated levels of customer service is bound to have a major impact on customer satisfaction, since it is now established that customers stick with companies that make them feel special by understanding their needs without being told. Customers are less likely to talk about a brand if they have experienced sloppy customer service. Written testimonials from customers over social media also help companies attract new customers without the added cost of promotions and marketing. Claims of great customer service can fall flat if customers have not really taken the time to describe their positive experiences over these highly visible platforms. Customers will make the time only if the customer service provided wows and excites them.
However, companies must be very judicious in using social media. As a two edged sword, if revenues and customer loyalty can increase by providing great customer service, reputation can also be damaged irreparably if the company has serviced the customers poorly. In fact, unhappy customers tell more people and are rather vociferous about it. So if companies decide to use social media to improve customer service or even provide it, they must be very careful that the experiences are memorable and pleasant. Even one positive or negative experience can mean the difference between enhanced support and loyalty viz-a-viz a complete down slide of revenue and repute.
Ensure that all personal accounts on these sites are kept segregated from the business ones to effectively connect with your customers, when using social media to improve customer service. So what are some of the ways to use this media effectively in providing customer service excellence?
– Create blogs to update customers and all external associates of your company about new happenings, launches or even company news. Allow for customers to be able to easily provide feedback or ask questions. This openness and transparency will give the customers more confidence in your company and its customer service.
– Just receiving the feedback will not suffice. Constant monitoring will give you a fair idea of what customers and others are saying about your company. There are various tool and search engines that you can access to find the reviews of your company. Showcase the positive feedback and immediately dive in to troubleshooting the problematic areas.
– Set up self-help troubleshooting guides. Have the option of a chat with a customer service representative to walk the customer through the troubleshooting process. Customers want information and resolutions quickly and do not mind using well executed troubleshooting guides but are still keen on having some amount of human contact.
– Not only can you use social media to improve customer service, but are able to view what customers are saying about your competition and whether there are comparisons being drawn up. Going one up on what your competition is offering or bettering what the competition might have messed up, are sure ways of gaining more customers and increasing current customer loyalty.
– Negative feedback is not the end of the world. The action you take and the speed of the action is what will determine your standing. Deal with such comments instantly by first apologizing to the customer, which will show them that you are taking responsibility and ownership. Offer a solution to your customer if the fault actually lies with you. This kind of customer service gets more appreciation than if you never did have a problem.
– A number of your customers could be asking similar questions. Based on these, put up an exhaustive FAQ sheet with well-defined answers. Inform your customers of your action and let them know where they can find it. A troubleshooting diagrammatic representation would be a great addition to this portion. Improving customer service is all about upping the quotient on what your customers want and providing a notch higher.
– Your customer service staff must be adequately trained to deal with all social media channels and be able to respond appropriately. For example – if a representative seems to be lacking on basic troubleshooting skills, ensure that either this person is moved to an area they are more comfortable in or provide training to get them up to speed. Multi-skilled and well trained staff is vital to raising the standard of your customer service.
– Using social media to improve customer service may be a management decision, but all employees must be informed of the same and put at ease with the idea. Working via social networking might be daunting to some people but a detailed explanation of its significant advantages will help create buy-in. Customer service staff that will have access to the company’s official social media pages, must be adequately informed of the policies around it and the repercussions of misusing them.
– High quality customer service staff will ensure that not only will they provide effective solutions but will also provide prompt and quick responses. No one really appreciates having to wait for a response and for customers waiting for on-line responses is now in the ‘zero tolerance’ zone.
– Personalizing customer experiences works like a charm as customers want to feel important and treating them well will ensure that they remain with you. A simple technique of addressing the customer by name is known to have a significant impact on customer satisfaction levels. This is an even bigger factor when used over social media – not only are you making your customer feel important you are showcasing their importance to a very large audience.
– Connect with your customers over the social platform of their choice. If you find your customer over one platform, use that to communicate with them. Respond via the same channel that the customer connects with you on. It’s as simple as that – the customer should not have to wonder where you responded, you must respond as they want.
All the techniques talked about create a vital connection and showcase the company’s commitment to constantly improve customer service through empathy and understanding. Coupled with this would be the fact that using social media to improve customer service would reduce the time taken to respond to a customer. This will put your company ahead of the other market players. Of course, this is not a one-time exercise but rather an unrelenting and constant one.
Setting up customer service via social media is probably an expensive proposition and daunting even for the strongest of companies. However, the benefits of using social media for customer service will far outweigh these negatives in the long run. The positive exposure, happy customer testimonials and knowing ahead will all help to save cost and time that otherwise would be spent crying yourself hoarse on how great your customer service is. The importance of using social media to improve customer service is far too great and overlooking it can be a costly mistake.