Building a strong positive reputation for your brand is done through stellar customer service. There is no such thing as a perfect company. Every brand that has ever existed has disappointed some people at one time or another.
What customers really want in these situations is to be reassured that the company cares about them and their business and will resolve issues quickly and painlessly. This has been a constant for business throughout time. What has changed recently is the way that customers communicate with the brands they choose to do business with. This has led to the rise of omnichannel customer service.
Why social media customer service is important
Voice and in-person communication still happens but text and social media communication are quickly becoming preferable to Millennials and Generation Z. Social media customer service is important not only to engage with current customers but to bring in new business as well. According to one study, 42 percent of social media users use social media to research products.
Here are some of the best ways to deliver stellar social media customer service:
1. Create loyal customer advocates
When negative social media comments are left about your brand, it creates a conundrum. If you do nothing, you can come off sounding uncaring and aloof. If, however, you try to defend your company, you risk coming off arrogant, greedy, or insincere. If there are actual customers that come to your company’s defense, however, the negative publicity is essentially eliminated.
Having a loyal customer base that is willing to stand up to your brand’s critics doesn’t just happen, it must be built and nurtured. There are many ways to go about this, but one of the best is social media listening followed up with generosity.
Example: Morton’s Steakhouse
To create a loyal customer fanbase willing to go to bat for your company requires going above and beyond. In 2011, a man named Peter Shankman jokingly asked on Twitter for a porterhouse steak to be delivered to him when he arrived at Newark airport and he tagged Morton’s.
The well known steakhouse came through and had a full steak meal waiting for him at the airport – free of charge. The shocked Shankman posted photos of the experience on social media and immediately became a customer advocate. Big, bold moves like this are sure to create the most loyal customers.
2. Track social media communication and respond quickly
You only get one chance to make a first impression. This is especially true in business. The challenge for modern companies is that consumers have so many avenues to contact a new brand. While your business is answering questions through email, livechat and voice, it’s important not to neglect social media.
Not every social media communication will be a first-time communication, but many of them will be. As stated above, over 40 percent of social media users use this channel to research new brands. If it takes your company weeks or even days to respond to a question on social media, the prospect will likely have moved on.
For social media communication from current customers, responsiveness is equally, if not more important. A lag in responsiveness will make customers feel like your company doesn’t care about them or their business. If customers feel forced to use a communication channel they are uncomfortable with (such as voice) to reach you, they are likely to feel that your product or service is not a good fit for them.
The easy solution is to invest in social media tracking so that you can respond to any posts, @mentions, comments or concerns quickly. This will undoubtedly make your customers feel cared about and catered to.
As a website building platform, Wix receives many questions every day from customers and prospects alike. In response to the need, Wix created a dedicated Twitter support account that gets 24/7 monitoring by dedicated agents. As a result, customers that feel more comfortable reaching out on social media (which is a growing percentage of the population) can get a fast, intelligent response to their query anytime.
3. Reach out to customers privately
In the Digital Age, we are all inundated with content. With advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, we are now constantly exposed to ads and content from numerous organizations that match up with our interests and passions. There are plenty of catchy animations, clever slogans and informative articles. There is a lot of noise. What there isn’t a lot of, however, is sincere connection.
Especially when it comes to social media, if you really want to stand out, reach out to your customers and critics personally. If someone posts a harsh review, don’t defend yourself publicly, but reach out privately in sincerity to make things right. If someone @mentions your brand with positive feedback, comment and like their post publicly to return the favor and then also reach out privately with a customized offer or thank you note.
Example: Delta Hotels
Mike McCready wasn’t expecting anything when he casually tweeted about his Delta hotel room that was nice enough but didn’t have a great view. He didn’t even tag Delta in the post. Within one hour, Delta Hotels upgraded his room to one with a better view, and when Mr. McCready returned from attending his conference he found a tray of complimentary sweets with a handwritten note from the hotel staff.
Social media may be evolving and the platforms may change over time, but social media as a communication platform is here to stay. Companies that are looking for longevity will need a strong social media customer service strategy. Fortunately, this is also an opportunity for brands to stand out. With social listening tools, dedicated agents, quick responses, generosity and creativity your business can become another example of stellar social media customer service.