Does Customer Service Need To Change Now That We Have Social Media?

by Walt
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Customer Service in a Social Media Dominated World.

Do we need to update customer service?

Is it still relevant? I feel YES – but with some updates needed to reflect the world we live in these days.

There are some things we can’t ignore that greatly impact what we view as good customer service these days – and they mainly revolve around our way of dealing with social media.

Gone are the days when someone who needed some extra care would jump on the phone with you. Now, of course, they will be posting their experiences on social media – and you need to be there to catch it, or face the grinding reality that your business and it’s good name will suffer.

Studies have shown some REALLY interesting and valuable things over the past couple of years.
Here are 2 that should really make you take notice.

1). The Sprout Study that showed 90% of customers have reached out to a company using social media of some kind.
And the even more important sub-note to that, which is that 34.5% of people in that study say it’s their PREFERRED method. (that’s 1 in 3 folks)

2). 97% of Consumers are affected by other customers’ comments on your social pages and then the secondary (and more scary) follow up statistic that shows 88% are less likely to buy from you if they see unanswered questions

So here are some tips for dealing with customers in social media

3 tips for dealing with Feedback in a Social Media world. 

1.) Speed is absolutely, 100% the key.
customers who are posting on social media are expecting replies in minutes.
Wait… what?
Yes.
Minutes.

Not our typical ‘we respond within 24 hours’
but faster than that.

Now – I know it’s not always possible.
Please understand when I say customers are EXPECTING

So, one of the first things you can put in place is an escalation process
And an automatic reply.
Something that they get back – immediately. letting them know you are onto it.
And then of course (it goes without saying) that you really and truely do NEED to be onto it.
Have something in place that alerts you on the comments and a process for dealing with it.
You do need to reply to EVERY social comment… with only 2 exceptions.
1st – the obviously trolling or spam ones. Now – these aren’t unhappy customers, who need to be listened to and cared for, they are the ones with a clear purpose to destroy anything they touch. Delete and block.
But – in the customers space – you need to reply.

A strategy I have seen work well, is a public reply.
Followed by a private message
And then a public update once the issue is resolved.

Like this
*customer: Comment
*Your team: “Thanks for the comment *customers name* I’ll make sure to grab all the details from you on a separate message
then – in Private – get everything you need
Then Publicly
*Your team: Thanks again *customers name* I’m glad we were able to get that all worked out for you. Don’t forget we’re here to help if you need us.
do NOT post that unless you have absolutely 100% solved the issue.

2). Don’t always take it private and don’t switch platforms unless you REALLY need to (and sometimes you do)

Is the issue one that you can answer publicly – and that answer can be truly fast (see above) understanding, helpful, friendly and accurate?
Then – do it publicly. You look awesome if you can tick all those boxes.
By the way – read those criteria again… You need to be ALL of those things to come off well in public.
Public replies that do meet all those criteria are in fact a huge boost to your online credibility and positioning to use the reply to generate more sales (& let’s face it team… that’s really the point) So be public – where it suits.

Taking it private; when you need to.

Sometimes, you absolutely have to take it private.
This is especially true if the customer needs a bit more attention than a simple reply.
OR if you need private information in order to assist, like their order number, email address, username etc. Those things – Need to be private.
and if they post them publicly – delete the comment, and let them know you have done so – but also that you have taken note of them before deleting and you will get them their answer asap on a private message.

So – public is GOOD. If you meet the tough criteria above.

Note them ? fast, understanding, helpful, friendly and accurate.

If you can’t meet those for any reason, or if the information you need, has any hint of needing to be OFF the public plate – take it private (and reply publicly once resolved)
and never EVER switch platforms unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Meaning – if they message you on your Facebook page, don’t steer them to your twitter channel (and Vice-Versa) As this doesn’t look good.
If you have to switch them
to a dedicated support team access or similar –
DO let them know publicly your reasons for that, and the only good reason is an ability to connect and communicate with them easier to get a resolution.
If you can (in any way) stay on the same platform – do that.

3). Be present, even if you aren’t needed.

Responding to public mentions of your brand or products – even if it’s not a reach out for support, is a terrific way of building yourself as a known and trusted product.
Comments like “Well done Tash! that new eyeliner really looks great on you”
(if your product as the eyeliner was mentioned in a selfie)
go a long way.
Other people see the positive vibe
As well as the presence of the vendor – more than just someone taking their money – and are FAR more likely to buy from that brand in the future.

Make people look good – where-ever you can.
We are all ego driven animals, in the end.
And if you can endorse or talk up your customer – they look good and their social circles want the same treatment.
Obviously – be sincere.
Fake praise is simply the worst.
So – whatever you are posting, mean it – and make your customer come out looking awesome.

If it was a problem, that was solved and you aren’t needed. Still pop up.
Still raise you hand and let them know you are there.
It’s social media after all.
The key is social – be available and your brand will thank you for it.

Recognise that a huge part of good customer service is simply hearing your customer and what they are saying.
– You do this by acknowledgement. (and not just paying lip service to this) Understanding the situation from the customers point of view. Something as simple as a reply to that social post – letting them know you have heard them.

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