Imagine this. You’ve shattered the screen of your smartphone and you have to purchase a new one. You take time out of your busy schedule – balancing work, errands, friendships and relationships – to drive to a shop where you can get it replaced. You’re already frustrated with the work week and now you have to drop several hundred dollars on a new phone. When you walk inside the store you’re assuming you’ll receive great customer service and that everything will go smoothly. You’ll have a new phone in no time!
But then you walk up to the counter, and you’re ignored. You wait five minutes and no one greets you. The store is busy, so you stand there for five more minutes, which turns into an additional ten, and you still haven’t received as much as a hello.
What’s your reaction?
Odds are you’re not too happy. Moving beyond the frustration, you may decide to move your business to a store where you feel valued.
Now imagine if this happened via Twitter. A shipment you were supposed to receive never arrived or a concert was canceled and you weren’t notified. You try to reach out via social media – because face it, that’s the world we live in now – and you’re ignored. You wait 30 minutes and don’t receive a response. Days go by and you hear nothing.
It’s not acceptable in person, so why would a brand think not responding would be an acceptable option on social media?
According to a recent study, 80 percent of brands believe they offer “superior” customer service. Yet only 8 percent of the customers believe that to be true. Obviously, that’s a huge gap, and that gap can result in the loss of business and can easily cause your company’s bottom line to bottom out.
With these three simple, yet effective, tips, social media managers and organizations can work to fix the issue of customer service online:
Show your customers you’re listening
It’s no longer an option to ignore customers on social media. Today, social media offers businesses the opportunity to create a loyal fan base in under 140 characters. Because of the potential social media has to build a business, brands have to listen to both their fans and their detractors at all times. They can demonstrate this by responding quickly to praise, as well as complaints. If one of your followers lets you know they had a great experience, respond and thank them for reaching out. If one of your followers had poor service, or feels like they’re not valued, respond and work to solve the issue. You can’t have the good without the bad, and you can’t choose to ignore criticism and solely accept the praise. This will come across as self-serving, and you will alienate your customers.
Be a human
Robots are cool, but no one wants to talk to one on social media. Your brand needs a personality, and that personality should be reflected in every single thing you do, including your social media posts. Personalize your responses and let the customers know you want to work together to solve the issue; don’t simply copy and paste from a script. Developing a process to address questions via social media can be great and save time in the long run, but don’t simply rely on template messages. While they could get the job done, they could also make the customer feel like their complaints aren’t actually being heard by anyone. And since 70 percent of the buying experience is based on how a person thinks they’re being treated, alienating a customer is just bad for business.
Follow through with results
Building a connection and showing your customers that you’re listening will mean absolutely nothing if you don’t deliver results. The interactions might have gone well, but if the problem doesn’t get fixed, the customer will still leave with a negative experience. Go the extra mile to help resolve the issue. This could require offline work and possible coordination with multiple departments, but it will satisfy the customer and build brand loyalty. For example, if someone has a bad experience at a local music festival, connect with that person and send them some kind of care package with a promise that you’ll do better the next time. Just think of what could happen when that person shares about their great interaction on social media. You will have successfully taken a negative and turned it into a positive for your brand.
Follow these tips, and you’ll begin to build loyal customers that will become brand advocates in no time!
by Jordan Overton