Every business strives to offer great customer service, but consumers are becoming increasingly critical of the service they receive. When a customer isn’t happy, it can quickly result in lost sales. Research shows 62 percent of global consumers have stopped doing business with a certain company because of poor service.
What’s the solution? The answer goes beyond “service with a smile.” By 2020, consumers will manage 85 percent of their interaction with a brand without human interaction.
Simply put, consumers want quick, efficient service that fits into the digital world. One piece to this digital puzzle is social media. Your Facebook and Twitter pages aren’t just for promoting sales anymore, they provide a great platform to improve your customer service.
Here are four ways businesses can use social media channels to offer the kind of customer service that today’s consumers are looking for:
1. Answer questions promptly
Every social media article ever written encourages businesses to respond “in a timely manner” to every comment or question on social media.
It’s solid advice, but research shows your response times are more important than you think. For starters, a growing number of consumers are turning to a company’s social sites for help. Forty-three percent of consumers say the most important component of a company’s social site is rapid response to questions.
Just how fast should you respond? One survey shows seventy-two percent of consumers expect a response within an hour.
2. Practice random acts of kindness
You can’t underestimate the power of appreciation. Consumers want to feel loved, so the next time a client says something positive about your brand or gives an employee a compliment, respond with a kind gesture.
Ask for the customer’s email in a private message and send a coupon to their inbox, or make that fan the “Customer of the Week” and feature their picture and a short Q & A with the customer on your Facebook page. Here’s an example of a company doing just that:
The idea is to celebrate your customers. You don’t have to make big gestures, or tie up a lot of employee time to make a few customers feel special on social media.
3. Consider a separate page just for service or support
Some businesses are taking customer service on social to a new level and dedicating an entire account to it.
Xbox, for example, has a separate Twitter account that handles questions Monday-Sunday from 6am-12am. The company tackles all kinds of questions and comments on the site. Everything from game release dates to internet connection issues, like those mentioned in the example below, is discussed.
Obviously, Xbox invests serious resources here, and it might not be an option for smaller businesses, but it’s something to consider in the future.
You could also try it on a smaller scale. Set up a separate page specific to service, but rather than offering support around the clock, try offering live support for specific blocks of time each day. For instance, everyday from 12-2 customers can get instant answers to their questions.
4. Ask for feedback
A big component of customer service is asking for – and listening to – feedback. Replace the old-school comment box that collects dust on the register with a poll on Facebook.
If you know of a particular “pain point” or compliant that customers have with your business, ask them what improvements you can make.
You can create a poll or solicit feedback on a variety of different topics. You can even ask customers what kind of customer support they’d like access to on your Facebook or Twitter account.
Here’s a link to a create a poll on Facebook. Just make sure the poll is focused on one topic, tell fans the results of the poll and how you plan to implement their feedback.
As customer service expectations evolve, it’s important for businesses to stay connected to what consumers want. In today’s world, that means combining digital and traditional methods to make sure each customer has a stellar experience with your brand and product.
What kind of customer service does your business offer on social media? What works for you? Share your experience in the comment section.