When it comes to social media, there’s more than one aim of using it for your business. It’s not just about converting your customers, it’s about maintaining a loyal set of followers who want to engage with your online brand.
Fascinatingly, social media has become a massive help in providing customer service. Whether it’s something trivial like “What time do you close today?” or criticism online towards your employees, service, brand or product, the fact is we must be responsive and active across social media when our customers need us.. in other words, we must be there to provide customer service if we really want to get the most from our online branding and social media profiles.
People aren’t on social media to speak to a robot, or to be spoken to like they’re a robot.
They understand that companies are made up of people, and that they indeed are speaking to a person, at least for now. That means that when you are engaging across your social platforms and are speaking to people, replying to messages, answering questions, responding to enquiries, they want to see that you’re human!
Ultimately, acting like a human and demonstrating your personality across social media is what will allow you to differentiate from your competition and provide better customer service across your social platforms.
Check your messages frequently, and thoroughly
We are in the age of 24-7 information, and people are increasingly demanding when it comes to how responsive you are to them.
The fact that I can search Google and quite easily find 100 of your competitors doesn’t help to begin with, but if I had messaged you and haven’t received a reply about your product or service after I have took the time out of my day to message you – you just completely lost me.
The second tip I have today would be to ensure that you are actively checking your messages several times a day. Ideally, you want to be responding within at the most a couple of hours to make a lasting impression on any leads you have online.
The internet is full of false promises and broken dreams. Don’t tell me you’ve not seen this yourself. Inappropriate advertisements promising results that you know aren’t possible to a whole bunch of sales prospects promising you the world and never following through, if it exists the internet has it all.
Don’t be one of them.
The fact is, just as when you do business offline, when you are making promises and cutting deals online, you need to follow-through.
Have consistent branding and up-to-date information
Being hyperconnected and having high expectations of businesses is one thing, but the biggest point of this is our need for immediacy in today’s digital environment. With instant access to information regarding almost any piece of data available to mankind, what do you think your customers think when they click on the “Call Us” button on your social media profile, and it’s an inactive number?
What about when they want directions to your shop, they look online, drive to where you are supposed to be based only to look again and realise that you’ve updated your information on your Facebook profile to your new location, but you’ve failed to do so on Google and they’ve ended up in the wrong place?
Customer service doesn’t have to be a response to a message, you can be pro-active and think about your customers needs when they are looking for information about you online. Make sure it’s consistent and up to date across all your social profiles, and that people can get in touch with you, no matter where they get their information from.
Be available across the relevant social platforms for your audience
Where are your audience? Wherever they are, they expect you to be; that’s for sure.
With over twenty million of users from the UK on all the major platforms; LinkedIn, Twitter and of course Facebook, you should make that your start. Different industries have different needs, and understanding where to be in order to ensure you are in front of your customers is key to being able to provide customer service successfully for your brand online.
Because if you’re not there, guess what? Your competition is.
React calmly and respond logically to criticism online
Have you recently been criticized online? Has your brand received a negative review? Did someone post on Facebook about their dissatisfaction?
I recently seen a friend complain about a sandwich online, and it kicked up some dust. People commented, they shared.
The worst thing was, the company who had made the sandwich did not say “We apologise you did not like our sandwich, what was wrong?” – they took the chance to defend how good their sandwich was, and essentially stated that my friend was wrong in his assumption that their sandwich was not worth the money he had paid.
What? How is it up for the company to determine how my friend felt about that sandwich? It’s not.
Remember, the customer is always right
Just like in real life: the customers is always right. Taking from the above example with my friend’s sandwich, to challenge your customer on their dissatisfaction or their rights to have an opinion regarding your service on social media is just wrong.
Apologies for your mistakes, own up to your wrongdoings. It’s not the end of the world.
If however, you are seen to be disgruntled when your customers are looking for your attention and your response online and are not happy responding to criticism, you’ll be seen in a much more negative light than you would if you were to, for example, provide a great customer service and try to resolve their problems and provide a solution (perhaps a free sandwich next time!)
Uphold professionalism but also show your personality
The simple thing is, Facebook and Twitter can be very unprofessional. As much as it’s a “professional network”, some people and actions they take on LinkedIn are very much unprofessional.
Does that mean you can drop your guard, and be unprofessional?
No, it doesn’t. Although our first tip was “be human” – you should be human in relation to how you would be a human when you’re at work, with your employees, your boss, your colleagues, your clients.
If you wouldn’t say it to your client in real life, don’t say it to your client on social media.
Showcasing your teams personality and the fact you are a vibrant and engaging business is one thing. Being unprofessional is another. Show the personality of your business, but try to remain professional across your social profiles and within your customer engagement at all times.
Use customer queries to create a knowledge-base or FAQ
Are you getting a lot of the same questions? Do your customers come to you with many of the same issues?
Create a knowledge-base or FAQ on your website, your social profiles and across your online presence to ensure that all the “frequently asked questions” are already dealt with, and you have a knowledge base that can answer some of your customer’s main queries and questions before they even ask them.
Being proactive, not reactive
To follow on from the above point, you should always look to be proactive in your marketing and customer service efforts, but you also need to be reactive in how you deal with customers on a daily basis.
An example would be that I own this digital marketing agency, right? A lot of my customers ask me about SEO. I tend to do a lot of content on SEO because I know that’s a hot topic for my audience right now. That’s me being proactive.
However, I’m always responding to messages and looking to explain to my customers on my social profiles, through messaging in particular and of course on my phone calls and within my client visits, I’m looking to respond to them and be react to their needs in the moment.
Use your customers queries to inform your content marketing, and inform your customers on topics that are important to them before they have chance to ask you.
There’s plenty of ways you can provide excellent customer service. Being active every single day, being able to be reached on weekends, making sure you are consistently polite and are open to suggestions online, responding to queries in a timely manner.
Struggling to consistently respond to your customers queries? Let me help you with one of our social media management.