These days, social media is an essential customer service tool. When something goes right or wrong, social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are often the first places consumers go to vent or sing praises. Providing customer service through social media channels can help you connect with your customers on a more personal level, while also instilling confidence in your brand. How you approach your social media customer service plays a major role in its success.
1. Be Empathetic
When someone contacts your social media account publicly or privately, it’s often because they feel they’ve been wronged. Even if they’re incorrect, it’s crucial that you lend a sympathetic ear and do your best to resolve the situation kindly. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is responding with personal emotions. Even if you’re not able to provide an ideal solution for the customer, empathizing with them and doing your best to ease the tension is important.
For example, say a customer bought your product two months ago, and your return policy only covers 30 days. While you may not be able to provide a full refund or exchange, you could apologize for the inconvenience and offer a discount on their next order. This type of compromise shows that you genuinely value the customer and that you want to provide some sort of solution, even if it’s not what they had hoped.
2. Respond Quickly
Customers often reach out on social media because they want or need quick answers. If you’re not able to stay on top of your pages — especially if you have a lot of followers — you may want to hire someone to handle social media comments and inquiries. Fast responses prevent further negative feedback, and they show the customer that your company cares. No matter how amazing your overall social media strategy may be, nobody wants to be kept waiting.
3. Avoid Scripted Responses
Today’s savvy consumers can recognise a template response from a mile away. Engaging your social media followers as a fellow human is the key to keeping situations positive. While professionalism is important, you want your followers to feel a real connection with your social media accounts. Using relaxed language and even emojis can go a long way to keeping your audience happy.
4. Stay on Top of Potential Issues
Sometimes, it’s up to you to be the first to say something if you foresee a potential problem. Say you run a clothing company, and you just realised you sent out a batch of damaged shirts. Rather than waiting for complaints, write a post that acknowledges the issue and provides a solution. That way, your page remains free of negative reviews and comments. Additionally, that kind of initiative can reflect positively on your brand because it shows that you’re willing to own up to and fix mistakes.
5. Maintain a Positive Environment
The key to successfully handling customer interactions online is to always keep a positive, upbeat attitude. No matter how you may feel, you must portray your company as happy, willing and able to help. It’s quite common for potential customers to visit your social media accounts before placing an order, and you don’t want a negative interaction to dissuade them. Unlike phone or face-to-face interactions, it can be difficult to interpret attitudes online. That’s why you must make an effort to smile through the screen.
When in doubt, hiring a social media professional can be a valuable addition to your business. If a new hire doesn’t fit in your budget, establish a social media protocol for your existing customer service team. Social media is a major form of communication these days, so don’t overlook the importance of laying a solid foundation.