Digital technologies have improved rapidly over the last several years. Social media has quickly become instrumental in helping many businesses, both large and small, get the word out about their products and services, as well as engage and attract customers through online means. One of the most fascinating developments, however, for the social media sphere, is its role in customer service.
Companies have figured out how to leverage their social media platforms and accounts to take care of their customers like never before, answering questions and driving engagement all at the click of a button or two. Customer service through social media is not particularly difficult, but there are a few key points to know if your company wants to use social media to help educate and inform customers about your business.
- Adapt to social media and know it’s not traditional customer service
- Create a dedicated account for customer service situations
- Know when to take the conversation offline
Know Which Platform Works For Your Company
Like knowing your customer, it’s absolutely key to know which social media platforms you’ll use to interact with and engage customers online, as users for each platform have different expectations for what they’ll see when using their social media.
Naturally, you’ll want to go where your customers are. After all, how are you going to provide great customer service if you choose a platform where no customers exist to begin with? In order to figure out which platforms your customers are using, you can send them polls through their e-mails and in-store visits.
Once you have an understanding of where your customers are gathering, you can begin to create a profile and build up your company’s reputation on that site. Specialize in your given social media site and learn the lingo and temperament of its users to truly reach out.
Understand You’re Using Social Media
This may seem straightforward and simple, but many companies have trouble adapting their strategies and messaging to users on social media as opposed to customers in store and who use their website. It’s important to understand that most of your messaging on social media will be public; there’s nothing to hide behind and any average user will be able to see and interact with the messages you’re sending out.
In addition, and to reiterate, you’ll want to adapt to the language of those already on the social media platform. Users who prefer Facebook are vastly different than those who use Instagram. The same goes for users of other social media sites like Twitter and Reddit.
Depending on the type of brand you strive to be and the clients you’re helping, your sentence structure and tone will be different. Facebook is typically more informal, while Instagram is loose and fun, for example.
Make A Dedicated Account
Maybe you already have a social media account, but it doesn’t attract many visitors. Conversely, your current account could be swamped with traffic and you’ve got engagement numbers on a daily basis. In either case, you’ll probably want to establish a dedicated account just for your customer service initiatives.
Answering customer queries on your main account can distract others from the content and fun engagement events you’ve planned, and it may sometimes bring to light problems at your company with the current offerings. In addition, customers don’t want to wade through your main account and all of the content present there just to reach their main goal; they want a direct line to your support network which will answer their questions for them and send them on their way in an efficient and timely manner.
A final positive to switching to a dedicated account is the power to answer questions at all hours of the day and night. You can set up a few bots to engage with your customers and keep them satisfied, even if it’s only until a human can take care of the problem in the morning or during the day.
Respond To Questions All Over The Platform
A customer doesn’t have to direct message or “at” your company in order for you to respond. It’s always a unique experience for a customer when a brand responds to their questions or offers advice at random.
You can take the time to answer customer questions and give updates about your products as long as the advice is related to the question posed by the original account. For example, if a customer is offering a complaint and sending it out into the Twittersphere at large, you can swoop in and defuse the situation as long as you maintain proper tact and be direct with the complaint.
Thousands of large brand accounts do this every day because it’s a great way to let the customer know you care about them and want to see their issues resolved and their satisfaction reached.
Know When To Take the Conversation Offline
Engaging with customers through social media can be a fun and rewarding experience, but not every customer complaint or problem will be solved through social media. When push comes to shove, you need to know when to take the conversation offline, or, when applicable, into direct messaging.
One reason you may need to take this approach is because social media usually limits the number of characters you can write, which makes in-depth responses difficult sometimes. You may also need the customer to give you vital but private information, which shouldn’t be accessed or seen by users “in the area” of the conversation.
If you do end up taking the conversation offline, be sure to resolve the issue quickly and with as few steps as possible. Nothing irritates a customer more than being passed around from branch to branch and being unable to solve their initial problem or complaint.