6 Ways to Use Social Media for Customer Service
Customers – and, yes, that means YOUR customers, too – are spending more time on social media and mobile devices than ever before.
As a result, small business owners are increasingly using social media as a way to not just communicate with customers, but to provide various forms of customer service as well.
Using social media for customer service offers great advantages. It’s fast, for one thing, and lets you easily provide personalized responses that can also be seen (and appreciated) by others.
By monitoring social channels you might also discover customers with issues you weren’t aware of and might otherwise not have realized were a problem. Not everyone will pick up the phone or send an email to alert you, but they might comment on the issue in social media.
Simply communicating via social media is not a substitute by itself for resolving a problem. But it can be a great way to let customers know quickly that you’re working on it.
Social media experts at Spredfast, a firm that helps businesses develop their social presence, note that helpful responses show customers and prospects that you run a responsive business. It helps the customer in need, while building a positive perception of your brand or business.
If you do venture into social media for customer service, make sure that you and other members of your team keep things friendly and personable, demonstrate deep knowledge of your products and services, and have the skills to communicate effectively in a conversational style.
Here are six ways to use social media for customer service:
Even if you can’t immediately fix or otherwise address a concern, it’s important to let people know you’re on it and provide some kind of time frame for resolution. This can also be a great time to ask for further information that you may need, and also shows you are actively looking into it. For example, reply to Facebook wall posts asking customers for information to a valid question or issue that’s already been raised.
Fixing problems is at the core of customer support, and social media can help. If the problem is shared by others, for example, you might post helpful information or links on Facebook, as a well publicly share a solution.
Why wait until customers have problems? Offer tips and advice to head off issues in the first place; or at least point customers to resources that can help solve issues that aren’t your fault but still involve your product or service. Think of it as a way to tout your outstanding customer service while showing customers how to tap into it if needed.
Take advantage of your social connections to learn more about your customers and their preferences, then put this to use by offering them customized services and loyalty rewards. Encourage them to share information about themselves, and especially how they use your product or service. You can then use this to start other online conversations or inform your own efforts to improve what you offer, or create add-on products or services.
In any competitive situation, giving customers tools and information they need to get the most out of your product or service can be a terrific advantage. You can post tips on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, for example, or create a YouTube channel devoted to short, helpful tutorials about your product or service. This is where you can also provide details of your different product lines that might spark additional interest from existing customers or prospects.
Social media is, by its nature, a customer-service oriented channel. That also makes it a natural venue to post announcements of interest and value to your customers. This by itself can sometimes preempt complaints by answering questions before they become problems. Also let customers know about new product features or enhancements you’ve added that they might not know about.
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