NCET explores business and technology
By Allegra Demerjian
Your customers are constantly using social media, and their devotion creates an opportunity to provide the kind of exceptional service that builds customers for life.
Like any initiative to strengthen profits, effective use of social media for customer service requires strategy, commitment and ongoing attention. But the rewards — higher customer spending, real customer relationships, an inside look at what customers are thinking — make the investment worthwhile. Bain Media estimates that customers increase their spending by 20 to 40 percent with companies that have engaged their customer-service requests on social media.
Here are five proven ways to use social media to create meaningful customer service:
1. Understand where your customers spend time on social media. Search for mentions of your store or brand on popular social sites. Particularly for small businesses, this information ensures you are paying attention to the right social platforms.
2. Always respond, and respond quickly. Every review, every question, every post on social media should be acknowledged, and quickly. More than 40 percent of consumers expect a response on social media within 60 minutes. If that’s asking too much of a small business, set a goal of responding within 24 hours.
3. Make the relationship personal. The customer’s social profile should provide a name. Use it! And, sign a response with your name or initials. A humanized conversation is more likely to be transparent, and it provides the starting point for a solid relationship. You’re delivering the message that you care about your customer as an individual.
4. Stay positive — always. Remember that dozens, maybe even hundreds of customers will be watching how you respond to each social media post. Conversocial, a company that specializes in social media customer service, says that nearly 96 percent of consumers are affected by other customer comments on a company’s social pages.
They’re paying attention to your responses, too. Obviously, you don’t want to get into public arguments with customers on social sites. Stay upbeat, look for ways to turn lemons into lemonade, “wow” everyone who is watching with your interest in finding a positive resolution to every customer-service inquiry. This is a chance to build a long-lasting relationship with a customer who cares enough to comment.
5. Know when to take things offline. Not every customer-service question can be resolved with a 140-character response on Twitter. Some inquiries should never be discussed in detail publicly. Social media is a good place to begin customer-service interactions, but the best resolution may involve old-fashioned media such as an email or (gasp!) even a phone call.
Learn powerful tips to build profits through effective use of social media for customer service during NCET’s Tech Bite luncheon on June 28. NCET is a member-supported nonprofit organization that produces educational and networking events to help people explore business and technology. Register for the event and get more info at NCETbite.org.