The number one way to provide outstanding customer service within your business is to know where your customers are, go where your customers are, listen when your customers speak, and communicate with them in the way they want to be communicated with.
Not exactly revolutionary, to be honest. This is pretty basic content like you'd find in Business 101.
Which is why it's a bit confusing that there are still brands that don't use social media to engage with their customers.
Don't get me wrong – there are a lot of brands using social media. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of brands using social media in the same way they've used radio, television, or print marketing. They're using social media to broadcast a message to their audience, and they're assuming that's the best way to reach their customer.
Using social media in a broadcast only method isn't providing customer service. It's providing the social equivalent of junk mail, and it's a way of speeding up the process of your audience ignoring you – at best. If you stay in a broadcast only mode, honestly, it could even cause your audience to think poorly of you and communicate that to their own connections.
The number one reason your business needs a social media strategy for customer service is this: in a highly competitive marketplace, your customers have a number of other choices. If you don't provide outstanding customer service – including being available to your customers when and where they want to be, your competition will.
Social Media Strategy: 3 Tips for Outstanding Social-Media Based Service
Sounds simple, doesn't it? Late this past summer, customer service research company Genesys reported that over half of customer-serving Fortune 500 companies didn't provide a link to their company's social media profiles (Facebook and Twitter most notably) on their online contact pages. 27% didn't provide social media links anywhere on their websites.
If customers are increasingly on social media, companies should be there also. Proactively listen for mention of your brand. Monitor your company's Facebook page for both praise and criticism – and respond to both honestly, transparently and respectfully. Set up Google alerts for mention of your company. Use a third-party solution such as HootSuite to watch for mention of your company's Twitter handle. Which leads to the next point –
If listening is the first step – letting your customers know you're listening is the next. The best way to do that is to respond in a timely fashion. A plan for providing great customer service using social media needs to include how you plan on responding to your customers (how often, whose responsibility this is, etc.)
#3: Find Your Voice
In order to sound authentic to your customers on social media channels, it requires you to find your voice as a company. All of the strategy in the world will fall flat on its face if your audience can't relate to your voice. Your content on social media – especially your response to customer concerns – needs to be human in order to be effective.
Is your company using social media to deliver customer service? What has been the biggest challenge? I'd love to hear – leave a comment below!