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5 Tips to Great Social Media Customer Service

Photo courtesy of _gee_ via Flickr

Many companies have jumped into using social networks as a means to provide customer support because more and more people are getting online and complaining. The birth of social media has given businesses a unique opportunity to improve their relationships with customers. Here are a few ways to turn your social media accounts into customer service stations.

Listen

Stay active on all of the social networks that you have set up for your company and monitor what is being said about your brand. Don’t set up a Twitter account and neglect your @replies and direct messages. If you ignore a customer complaint in social media, the world will know.

“The number one mistake many businesses make is setting up their social media accounts and treating them as a one-way communication platforms,” says Anum Hussain, a blogger for HubSpot Blog.

Be timely

Don’t wait to respond, even if it’s just an acknowledgement of their complaint. With social media, customers expect an answer and they expect it in a timely manner. Think about this…if someone called your customer service call center you wouldn’t leave them waiting on the line for two hours, so why would you do that on social media?

Address both positive and negative comments

Don’t ignore a public comment or complaint on your Facebook wall or a Tweet at your company. When you respond you’re showing that you are listening and care about what is being said.

When you get a compliment, a simple “thank you” goes a long way. If it’s a complaint, think about what upset your customer and apologize for that reason. If you can, try and get your customer offline to discuss the issue deeper. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you want to be responded to? When online, be as sincere as you would if someone was calling you.

Fess up

We’re human and we make mistakes. Accept that you will make a mistake, and you’ll begin to feel better about your social media efforts. If you post something that contradicts your brands message, don’t just delete it. Clarify it, accept that you were at fault, let your audience know, and apologize.

Answer questions

Customer service isn’t just about controlling complaints. It’s also about answering questions that are keeping your customers from using your products to their fullest potential.  “Answering consumers’ questions often ends up taking a back seat to responding to customer complaints. However, the timely response to a question will make customers feel heard and potentially can alleviate dissatisfaction,” says Debbie Hemley, a social media consultant and blogger.

Effective customer service is all about relationships and humanness beyond the social media platform. Make sure you are always listening, responding and creating value for your customers. “Make it as simple and intuitive as possible for customers to reach out to you and get the attention they deserve,” Hussain said.

Tags : social media

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