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How To Achieve Customer Service Success Using Social Media

Posted on Feb 12th, 2015
Written by TopRank Marketing
In this article

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    From James: Today’s post is the second in a series of four articles on social media marketing – all part of a contest within TopRank Marketing for a chance to attend Social Media Marketing World. Watch for the next post in the series on how to create impact with Instagram.

    According to a 2012 Nielsen Social Media Report, nearly half of all U.S. consumers use social media to ask questions, report satisfaction, or to complain. That means that your customers will inevitably take to Facebook, Yelp, or Twitter to talk about your brand. Are you ready to field questions, comments, and criticisms from your customers on social media? Providing attentive customer service on social media sites doesn’t need to be stressful. Continue reading to learn how to respond to all kinds of comments from your customers – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

    The Good

    When you open up your notifications and see that your brand has received a positive comment, you heave a sigh of relief. No complaints today!

    Many social media managers are so relieved to see positive and neutral comments that they feel no sense of urgency in replying to them. Responding to positive comments is an easy win. It shows that your brand is polite, ready, and willing to interact with the public on social media.

    Mentioning the person’s name is a good way to ensure that your response makes it to their notifications queue. A simple “thank you [person’s name]!” shows that your brand is ready to engage and provide customer service on social media. It also creates a polite and positive atmosphere where users can see that positive feedback is happily received and conversations are encouraged.

    Questions are another form of feedback that should be answered as quickly as possible. Answering questions promptly demonstrates excellent customer service, and shows that your brand is truly social. The consequence of not answering questions can be grave: Conversocial reports that 88% of consumers are less likely to purchase from a company that leaves questions on social media unanswered.

    Positive comments and questions are low-hanging fruit. Respond to them quickly in order to build trust and rapport with your audience.

    The Bad

    People use social media to give voice to grievances that might otherwise go unheard. Remind yourself of this when you notice negative feedback about your brand on social media, and consider this an opportunity to address their concerns and improve your services.

    Oftentimes, when a person complains about your brand on social media, they’ve already tried and failed to reach your customer service department by phone or email. That means that replying with a simple “contact our customer service department at ___” may only serve to enrage the customer. Remember that they’ve contacted your brand on Facebook or Twitter because they expect a response on Facebook or Twitter.

    If anything more than a quick comment is required, reply to the comment with a request for a phone call. Give them your direct line so that they don’t have to explain their concerns to someone who has no context of the situation. This will make the customer feel that their needs are heard, and that they’re a valuable enough customer to warrant a personal response.

    The Ugly

    Trolling is every social media manager’s worst nightmare. Internet trolls are people who post offensive and insulting comments with little or no meaningful context. Comments left on your company page by trolls may make you feel hurt, angry, or even scared, but the worst thing you can do is ignore these comments.

    The phenomenon of trolling emerges from the belief that there are not serious consequences for posting offensive comments on the social media. People who avoid arguments in real life may find themselves getting into heated debates on social media with strangers whom they’ve never met, or posting offensive comments about public figures or brands that they don’t like. Perhaps it’s the anonymity of the computer screen that allows people to feel that their words won’t be traced back to them.

    Following this line of reasoning, the best way to minimize trolling is to call it out. Monitor comments on your company’s posts and intervene if things start getting ugly. If the conversation in a comment string turns to name calling, reply and ask your fans to refrain from personal attacks and insults. Ask them to share articles and information that supports their opinions. It may sound cheesy, but you’d be surprised at how quickly reminding your fans of their manners can change the tone of a conversation. Most people do know how to act professionally, and feel sheepish when they’re called out on their bad behavior.

    Code of Conduct

    Intervention is the best way to keep trolling under control. However, Erica Hanna, who previously worked as the Director of Social Media at BringMeTheNews, notes that if you encounter “repeat trolls” or regularly post content that sparks heated discussions, your brand should consider implementing a social media code of conduct.

    Social media managers can refer to the social media code of conduct when confronting trolls or “breaking up” arguments in comment string. The code of conduct can require fans to refrain from obscenities, personal attacks, or other antisocial activities. You may also reserve the right to delete offensive comments in your social media code of conduct.

    Having a simple, and well thought-out social media code of conduct can help you prepare for anything – even trolls.

    Be Prepared

    Any brand that has a social media presence should be prepared to offer social media customer service. Your customers will talk about your brand and seek out your help on social media whether your want them to or not, so it’s best to be prepared to enter the discussion and show your fans what great customer service looks like.

    Social media customer service can be as easy as checking in on your brand pages two to three times a day and checking for new comments. As the voice of your brand, don’t be afraid to say “thank you” to praise, to learn from negative feedback, and put to offensive comments in their place.

    Are you a social media manager or brand page administrator? What are your tips for providing exceptional social media customer service?

    Image: Shutterstock