Social Media and Customer Service - an Unlikely Love Story
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Customer support, customer relations, customer service, a variety of different terms regarding the same crucial branch of communications. Customer support is imperative in building relations with your audience, not just customers but audience as well. Before social media, customer support was mostly comprised of telephone operators working hotlines and answering customer service calls. In more modern times industry standards changed and everything got computerized. It wasn’t an unusual sight to se a variety of companies change from your standard telephone operators to computerized departments answering customers questions and helping them with their queries.
Even though customer support is very deeply rooted in almost all business branches, a lot of small and big companies alike don’t see the importance of upholding your customer service department to the highest standards. This is a cardinal mistake, especially now, in 2020. when everything is done online and there is a record of every interaction.
The Importance of Social Media
Social media didn’t just help connect us to our friends and family online, it brought all sorts of revolutionary changes to the ways we communicate, share views, gather news, sell things, market things, the list goes on and on. One of the most noticeable changes in industry standards that social media brought is without a doubt regarding the customer service. Bad customer service can’t be hidden anymore and disgruntled customers don’t have to go out of their way to complain about a certain companies service to their friends, there is no need to anymore. With social media, every interaction is dealt with in a public forum. When there is a customer query or a complaint a few curious customers that just happen to pass by are not the only audience. Almost all of your present, future and potential customers are the audience, and they are watching to see how you will handle yourself.
Customer service should be planted in the core of company communication strategy, especially in this day and age. It represents our way of doing business and interacting with our target audience, it needs to be held to the highest standard imaginable. The novelty of interacting with customers in front of a whole audience can be scary, but it’s actually a good thing. If you value your customer service, have a healthy view of communicating with your audience and are adamant about building your community, customer service via social media is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tricky field but it’s worth it and by the end of this article you should see that for yourself.
How to do Customer Support Via Social Media Correctly?
So how can we create, mold and maintain customer service via social media?
Community, a lot of companies talk about it but most don’t really understand it. Community is something that every company, big and small should focus on creating in their social media strategy. Up to date posts, engaging and quality content, prompt answers and patience should get you on a head start towards a healthy community.
Once we understand the importance of building a community we can work toward maintaining that healthy relationship with our audience. And the key is proactive customer service! Here are some quick tips to assist you on your journey:
Social Media & Customer Support Tips
1. Know when to slide into DM’s
Not every question or complaint is suitable for public interaction. Don’t be mistaken, every customer query needs a prompt answer but you don’t have to go into detail. If there is a question/complaint that is even in the least bit tricky to answer publicly, take it into private messages. Promptly answer the original query and politely ask to continue the conversation in private.
2. Quick, quick but patient
Customers need to feel that they are being looked after and what better way to do it than answer all they’re questions as quickly as possible. As soon as you see a query, charge at it. BUT be patient! If you feel as if you can’t answer fully or correctly create a thoughtful response and see about answering the query as best as you can. As long as you start an interaction with the customer 50% of your job is done. The customer feels valued as you took your time to address their concerns.
3. A personal touch
This next tip should be tailored to your own communication strategy but it should apply to most. When answering customer queries add in a personal touch. Sign the answer with your initials or your first name. That way customers know that they are speaking to an actual human being that values their concerns. When answering questions a good practice is to address customers by their name as well. It creates a more personal relationship which can disarm more hostile queries or at least bring them down a notch.
4. NEVER loose control
Even though you are trying to go out of your way and help your customers, since they are always NO1! Never loose sight of your own actions, always be patient and polite. Battle negativity with positivity, answer all of the questions politely and in depth no matter how negative the customer might be.
5. Every shoe does not fit all
When doing research and creating your own communication strategy or customer support model always tailor it to your own vision. Ask yourself the basic questions which I’m sure most of us who studied corporate communications or similar subjects know by heart. Why are we here? What is our purpose? What do we want to achieve? When you answer these questions everything should be a tad bit easier. You’ll know in which way to answer your communities concerns and questions.
Hopefully we brought some positivity to the dreaded branch that is customer support. Those nightmare examples of angry customers online do little to paint the big picture that is customer support. Healthy and loving communities in a harsh corporate world are not some utopia out of reach, if you work hard towards maintaining your community, customer support should be one of the most sought after positions within your company. To achieve such communities you can’t shy away from one of the most valuable tools that is social media. If your social media interactions are honest, genuine and thought of with actual care for the community, there is nothing to fear.
Learn more about this subject in our podcast Midori BlogCast below: