Rich Smeeton from Manage Your Block looks at the role social media plays in customer service.
The importance of social media in marketing is well known, but have you ever thought about utilising the same platforms to provide incredible customer service?
According to Social Media Today “1 in 3 social media users prefer social media customer care services to telephone or email.” And “67% of consumers now use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for issues.”
Modern customer-bases expect 24/7 access to support with fast response times and a dash of personality to boot. They sound like tall orders but, if you embrace technology and train existing staff, you can join some of the biggest brands in the world and provide truly top-class customer service.
Why is Social Customer Service the Way Forward for Customers?
Two words: speed and availability. According to Smart Insights’ research from 2020, “more than 30% said it is a convenient contact method.” and “23% believe it is a good way to get 24-hour service.”
The main strength of providing customer service and support via social channels is speed of access. People don’t like taking time out of their day to ring a call centre, sit on hold for an age and then speak to a human. Yes, for some people direct human contact is the holy grail, but for the majority, this just takes too much time.
The ideal for most is to be able to fire off a quick message on Twitter or Facebook and wait for the ding of a response soon after. Responses can either solve the query there and then or invite the customer to contact the company via a particular avenue if the issue needs more discussion.
Social media is a 24/7 communication highway. If your customer encounters an issue outside of office hours, they will head straight to your social media pages to raise their issue and await a response. They don’t need to remember to message you the next day or to call when they have time in a lunch break.
The best of the best will even have teams available online as close to 24/7 as possible, so some may even respond in minutes. With our modern culture of high expectations and instant gratification, this is fast becoming the expected norm.
Using Social Customer Support to Boost Your Brand
Social support isn’t only great for your customers- it’s great for your brand too. Aside from the obvious that happy customers = great reviews and fantastic word of mouth marketing, solving your customer’s queries via social media means that the world gets to see the way your respond.
Every time you respond to queries in good time with a genuinely helpful (and hopefully personality-packed) message, the rest of your followers see that. If your responses are then commented on or shared by your followers, their followers will see that too. The snowball effect can be huge.
Having a strong online presence that encompasses great customer service is also the perfect way to showcase your brand, push your services and put your personality out there. Your customers will soon feel like they know the ‘person’ they’re talking to when they interact with your brand, making you their go-to in your market space and much more approachable for new customers too.
How to Get Started
Most companies already have an online presence to some degree- your first shift in approach should be to prioritise interaction and swift response times. Your existing marketing should be inviting conversation and engagement with your customers, so it’s likely that some of them will use the opportunity to air a complaint or raise a query.
So…respond. Respond in line with your brand’s personality and with a sense that the rest of your customer community is watching. Respond in a way that supports genuine relationships and reflects how you would like all staff to react face to face or over the phone.
You could even post messages that invite queries- a good one would be to ask which avenues of customer service your customers would find most useful for you to add to existing support.
Setting up support-based hashtags or separate customer service handles can be a great way to invite your followers to access customer service online. For example, if you have an existing Twitter profile with an @business_name handle, you could create a customer service-specific handle such as @business_name_support.
Make sure to shout about the new handle or hashtag across the rest of your marketing and to set out clear guidelines for expected response times and hours of availability.
If you’re faced with a very angry public message that can’t be resolved simply, invite the customer to contact you via a direct route. Don’t be tempted to suggest they call your usual customer service phone number or email the usual address- provide them with a contact name and a direct means of contact so they and your followers can see that you take things seriously and genuinely want to help resolve the issue.
Never be pulled into a public back-and-forth with an irate customer- it will never reflect well on you, no matter how nicely you approach the situation.
Manage Your Block aren’t here to tell you how to run your block of flats, but we can provide you with highly specialised software to make the management of your block much easier. Call us for more details on 0333 577 9070 or email email@example.com.