Many companies overlook the value of social media networks as customer service tools. A social media analytics company known as Talkwalker released an infographic detailing upcoming social media expert predictions for 2014. Social media gurus weight in, emphasizing a need for genuine and transparent communications online, between businesses and consumers. You can apply many tried-and-true customer service techniques to your social media interactions, such as customer alignment and empathy and invitations to learn more. Your social media accounts also offer companies unique opportunities to learn about customer success and struggles.
Alignment and Positive Intent
One of the early frustrations companies faced with social media is just how public communications are. An angry customer might leave harsh criticism, which can be read by thousands of readers within minutes. Replying to customers on social media can seem like an insurmountable task, especially when you’re under the weight of so much scrutiny. Before you get too wrapped up in social media posts and online reviews, take a step back.
Think about what your customer is trying to convey to you. If they are giving you praise, acknowledge what worked for them, and how your product made someone’s life easier. If someone is upset and providing criticism, try to align with your customer. Think about how it might have disrupted their day, and acknowledge that you understand their issue. Assume positive intent – even the angriest feedback is trying to alert your company of issues that affect the customer experience. Also, consider why they used social media. Are your alternative forms of contact too difficult to find?
Invite Customers To Dialogue Further
Social media networks can provide you with hundreds of introductions. For example, you might discover that a follower has posted photos of your product and service in action on Instagram and Twitter. This is an excellent opportunity to reach out to this person via Twitter, and ask them to share more of their story. These personal communications can turn passive followers into ardent brand advocates.
Customer service teams should also be collecting data on the backend, so that leadership can identify trends in praise, complaints, and other feedback found on social media websites. Rather than taking a reactive customer service approach, social media analytics can provide you with a roadmap for proactive measures. There are many companies out there, such as Sprout Social or Simply Measured, which allow you to monitor social media metrics.
For example, you might discover that social media activity rose after your company launched a new website. This traffic might be a response to a popular discount code you posted online, so that customers could save while shopping on the new webpage. Or, there might have been an influx of social media posts discussing a glitch on your new webpage, which hampers the browsing experience. Both pieces of information are extremely important to your company’s operations.
Provide Accessible Points of Contact
Social media networks put you in touch with current and prospective customers from all around the globe. Imagine if you could invite anyone to chat further over the phone, via email, or through a live chat session. Social media is just the initial point of contact. Your business can benefit greatly by providing an international-toll-free-
Social media networks provide business with a low-cost platform to begin important conversations with customers. Companies that learn to adapt to public, transparent customer relations will continue to thrive in the digital era. Social media interactions play a major role in building stronger customer relationships, drawing in new audiences, and improving your company’s online reputation.
By Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship.