When people think about the uses of social media, they usually consider activities like reconnecting with old friends, sharing pictures with loved ones living far away, or maintaining networks and contacts. But social media is far more than that to business owners. For savvy entrepreneurs like Tom Zaccagnino, social media provides opportunities for business to market their products, build their brand, and spread the word about all the things his company is doing.
More recently, business owners have found that social media can be more than an advertising tool. Utilizing social media platforms can be an excellent instrument in the development of improved customer service protocols and help companies monitor how well they are being received by their target demographic. Perception is, after all, reality when it comes to how consumers view your business, whether or not they buy into your backstory, and what your product reception will look.
Business owners know that great customer service will lead to an increase in consumer loyalty and repeat purchases. Showing that you care involves being responsive to customers online and building your reputation as a trustworthy business that operates with integrity. Companies that understand the value of customer service and the importance of social media can capitalize on their business social media platforms and channels by constantly surveying their feeds in order to improve customer service and deliver timely one-on-one responses.
Ramping up your customer service using social media does not have to be an expensive or time-consuming proposition. Delivering the most effective customer service can be as easy as close monitoring of your current platforms and following some (or all!) of these suggestions.
Suggestion #1: Your goal is to build real customer relationships with real consumers.
While many businesses have, in the past, approached social media as platforms for self-promotion and free marketing, consumers may grow weary of this one-purpose approach. Customers are not looking only for the number of followers you have, but the ways in which a company is responsive to their posts or tweets at them.
Utilize those business Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts you currently have for your business as important, valuable and viable opportunities to engage in two-way conversations with your customers. The goal is to build real, trusting, and long-term relationships with target consumers. Provide positive feedback regularly, post interesting and relevant content, and engage regularly with consumers who share their thoughts and suggestions. While negative feedback is never enjoyable to receive, determine to use that information to start a conversation for what your customers want and need. These may lead to not only improved customer service but may also help you modify products or change processes to serve them better.
Suggestion #2: Use the best platforms for your business and focus.
Not all social media platforms work equally well for all types of businesses. Once you have determined your target demographic, go where your consumers are. You may choose to survey your customers or analyze which social media platforms are the most active at the times you are available. Focus your time and effort and energy on these, and don’t worry about starting a business account for every social media channel available to you. New social media platforms are constantly emerging, so don’t get side-tracked from your focus unless you believe that a new channel will work better than the ones you currently have.
Once you have determined which platforms you intend to you, monitor your mentions regularly. There are free tools available for businesses that are designed to help your company achieve the goal of social listening. Take the accounts your most interested in maintaining to the next level using Social Gone Viral and find ways to monitor your organically grown community closely. Remember that consumers who have a negative experience with you are likely to go to social media to voice their complaints, so attend to these (if they occur!) as quickly as possible.
Suggestion #3: Respond positively and quickly.
Responding to positive social media mentions are generally not difficult, but many times a quick “thank you” goes a long way to building a rapport. Too often, businesses take positive feedback for granted and fail to let supporters know how much you appreciate them. While it may seem superfluous, a simple “glad to be of service” can go a long way to making your loyal consumers feel valued.
If the feedback is less positive, focus on maintaining a positive attitude regardless. Choose language that seeks a resolution and avoid using words like “not” and “don’t.” Make sure your response to criticism is thoughtful and well organized. Don’t take concerns or complaints personally, but seek to resolve whatever issue has occurred as quickly as possible. If it appears that the issue cannot be handled online, request contact information so you can call or email the customer. Remember that it’s easy to get hurt or distracted by complaints, so resolve to provide the best service possible so that you create a strong customer base, allowing you to avoid spending time and energy on detractors.
Image Credits: Customer Service from Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock