Monday 24 February, 2014
There are many ways to offer excellent customer service online. One of the best methods is to do it through social media. By allowing your customers to reach you on Facebook, Twitter or other popular social media sites, you give them another channel of communication through which they can reach you.
A recent Nielsen study shows that in 2012, one-third of social media users preferred contacting the companies they buy from through social media rather than other means. As people increasingly use social media in their everyday lives, you can be sure this percentage will increase.
Why Offer Customer Service through Social Media?
The main advantage of offering customer service through social media is you’re your customers want it this way. The golden rule of customer service is to always offer it on your customers’ terms. Increasingly, people want to interact with companies through social media, and by offering customer service there, you’re meeting this demand.
For both parties, social media has great advantages. It’s fast and reliable. Everything happens in real-time. Social media sites offer chat and video features so you can communicate more easily. An advantage for companies is that it’s free.
Finally, it just makes sense because no matter what your market, it’s a given that they’re probably using social media. It’s a matter of going where your customers are rather than expecting them to come to you, which is always good for customer service.
How to Provide the Best Social Media Customer Service Possible
On your website support pages, in addition to email and other contact information, make sure you have direct links to social media. Let your customers know everywhere you have contact with them that they can use social media to reach you.
As with all customer service, make sure you have people standing by ready to answer customer service questions as soon as they come. There’s no point in offering 24/7 support if no one is on the other side of it.
The great thing about social media is that you can sign up for notifications. Whenever someone contacts you, you get an alert to your email or phone. Most social media sites have ways to do this. You don’t have to be glued to Facebook. Just check in immediately when a question or comment comes through.
When someone airs their customer service issue publicly, such as on your Facebook timeline, it’s up to you whether you want to continue the discussion publicly or take it behind closed doors. Sometimes it’s good to handle customer service publicly. Other users can see that you’re responsive and responsible, and that you bend over backwards to make things right for your customers.
Offering customer service through social media is part of a growing trend called social commerce. Social commerce essentially means integrating your regular ecommerce with social media. As more people use social media, this is probably going to be the wave of the future.