Not too long ago, social media was considered an extra way for customers to interact with businesses, perhaps an afterthought available for people unable to call, write or email.
Today, however, getting in touch with a company is as easy as someone pulling up a favorite social media channel, finding the right page, and asking questions, sharing compliments, or sometimes sharing something negative.
In 2013, a J.D. Power study showed that 67 percent of consumers visited a brand’s social media site seeking help, and only 33 percent were there for actual social/fun reasons. A year later, Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers encouraged every business to increase their service through social media, since it’s the place where the audiences feel comfortable expressing themselves.
For companies interested in offering better customer service, try these strategies.
1.Focus on ‘real time.’ A good rule of thumb is to try for “as fast as possible” – at least within an hour. The longer you go without responding, the more noticeable it can be – not just to the person who posted, but any other visitor interested in what you have to say. This approach requires vigilance from team members and perhaps alerts, but this pays off by showing you’re always ready to interact, day or night.
2. Take it outside. If someone posts a complaint on your page or Tweets something unfavorable, respond diplomatically where the public can see it, then invite them to discuss things off-line, where you can provide them more attention. Some companies may routinely delete negative threads or individual complaints, but this practice may cause frustrated people to become angrier or draw cries of censorship.
3. Make it easy for everyone. Since more users are using social media on their phones, that means they can easily send private messages, compose emails, visit a mobile-friendly/responsively-designed site, contact someone through their site or even find a phone number. This approach is recommended by Inc contributor Yoav Vilner who essentially said that today’s entire integrated model of customer service relies primarily on social media.
4. Incorporate texting in your solutions. Getting all the details of someone’s situation and turning things around might require more back-and-forth to get all the details. According to Trumpia, which offers resources for texting, more people prefer to have their problem solved through texting vs. a phone call. Texpedite, another mass texting service, also can offer these solutions.
5. Keep brand-building in mind. You need to put out the bigger fires first in terms of figuring out how to get unhappy people happy fast. Taking this effort shows that you’re serious about your product and services. Once everyone calms down, you can remind them about fun promotions taking place and try to drive referrals to your site. If you are able to convince someone who has been frustrated to give you another chance, work even harder to keep them, and their friends, around.
6. It’s expected. According to Jeff Bullas, published at Inboundo, 93 percent of business buyers believe that all companies should have a social media presence, and 85 percent of this group wants to engage and interact with these companies. So a company that doesn’t have a presence may never be noticed by active social media users, no matter how well they focus on customer service.
7. Think preventatively. A company can certainly start rallying to give super service when something “breaks,” like a public problem with a product, service or employee. A smarter, but more challenging approach is to consciously make super customer service through social media the norm. This is the best way to build brand loyalty and keep people around when problems do happen. ZenDesk suggests regularly trying to hear from your customers beyond simple page views/analytics. This can be through surveys or simply spreading the word that they can share thoughts, questions or concerns anytime.
Sophorn is the marketing guy at Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. As an innovator in two-way SMS/MMS marketing, Trumpia’s mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way. Trumpia delivers world-class content such as video, ticketing, polling, products sales, contests and giveaways.
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