Using Social Media as a Customer Service Channel
Many businesses use social media as a customer service channel. In fact, you may not have a choice thanks to the nature of social networking. After all, that’s where today’s consumers go to share their frustrations with their friends or seek immediate feedback from businesses.
While you may notice an incoming question or complaint on your social media sites here and there, if you’re serious about using social media as a customer service channel, you’ll need to do more than just respond as needed. Use the tips below to improve your customer service on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites.
1. Equip your customer service team with social skills and access. Using social media as a customer service channel means getting your CSRs involved. Many businesses consider social media to be a marketing channel. Thus, only the marketing team has access to social profiles or interacts with users. However, marketing professionals have a different mind- and skill-set than customer service professionals. They may not know how to resolve problems or have the authority to do so. In contrast, your customer service agents already know what to expect and how to quickly resolve service issues that may arise.
2. Monitor social sites for customer service issues. In order to respond to issues on social media, your CSRs need to know that an issue has been aired. Unlike phone complaints, a ringing sound doesn’t prompt the agent into action when Twitter or Facebook are used. For social sites with a lot of interaction, complaints can easily get lost in news feeds and streams. What’s more, some complaints are not directed to your company page yet can cause significant negative buzz without your knowledge. Use filters or third-party monitoring tools to be alerted whenever your company’s name, brand, products, or specific keywords are mentioned. Your customer service team can then be notified in real time when a complaint has been aired on or off your social media page. Thus, they can proactively reach out to the customer and start resolving the issue. This simple act can quickly turn an unhappy customer into an impressed one.
3. Empower your customer service team to use social media. Now that your CSRs are equipped with social media skills, access, and alerts, empower them to use social media to deliver fantastic service. Because social conversations are social, others can be exposed to your impressive response. Your CSRs should be trained so that they know when to take a conversation offline and when to keep it social. Customers don’t generally want the details of their purchases or problems displayed publicly, so the conversation will likely need to go offline at some point.
However, CSRs should return to the social media conversation after the problem has been resolved to update the thread. For example, a CSR could post something along the lines of, “It was a pleasure straightening out the order mix-up. I just overnighted your order. You should have it first thing in the morning tomorrow.”
In addition to resolving complaints, consider using social media to send surveys, follow-ups, and thank-you’s to your customers. This could be as simple as collecting email addresses and then following up with a message that points customers to a review site or survey or as complex as uploading your customer database to Facebook in an attempt to match customer phone numbers with existing Facebook users and then reaching out to customers personally.
Using social media as a customer service channel is becoming a must. The more proactive you are, the better. As you know, unhappy customers love to share their horror stories with an audience. By actively monitoring social media sites and jumping in immediately, you can mitigate the damage, change an unhappy customer into a happy one, and show others just how great your customer service really is.