Being creative with social media customer service

Blurred lines have always existed when it comes to decipher the value of social media for business. Is it responsible for brand awareness, customer engagement, lead generation, customer service or a combination of everything? The good intentions of social media often come with an element of crisis and reputation management.

Aside from the intent shown by the business, consumers have been fast to learn that the public ‘calling out’ of brands via their social channels generally receive a prompter response rate than traditional customer service channels. Brands have learnt to act quickly and act appropriately on negative social media exposure. If you leave negative press without a response, the impression is as though you don’t take it seriously. If you delete or hide posts, the consensus is that you have tried to hide behind a problem and sweep it under the rug. One social slip up and the snowball effect can take its toll almost immediately.

There have of course been many classic cases when businesses have inadvertently empowered users to express their views and instances when genuine problems with a service have prompted a social backlash. The key with social media reputation management and customer service, is to have a clear and concise strategy in place, should you find yourself in such a situation.

It is an opportunity to show transparency and the ability to effectively manage your audience of potential customers new and old. Typically, businesses have been slow to embrace social media as an official channel for customer satisfaction but there has always been an element of cross over since its inception.

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Provide a better user experience

At first, many were unsure if to use social media for business. Now, given the amount of channels and users, and social media’s ability to contribute to many aspects of business positively, it is not a decision of whether you should use social media or not, but more of a question regarding how you are going to use it and how you will manage it. How can social media help build a better foundation for my business?

      • Do you wish to reach large potential audiences instantly?
      • Do you want to communicate the latest promotion or offer?
      • How about exclusive content for social media users
      • Reaching a potential global new audience?
      • Encourage crowd sourced content and brand advocacy?

The list really is endless, but you have to take the good with the bad. If you decide to use social media to promote and enhance your business, you have to be prepared to execute the risk management that accompanies it. After all, social media, is about being social and sharing your opinions an experiences with others.

Is the customer always right?

According to The Independent “Long-suffering customers who previously felt powerless now feel a greater sense of entitlement, and that sense of entitlement can’t be ignored” and statistics from ICS, 2015 has been the first year a decrease in customer satisfaction has been recorded since 2008.

The customer may not always be right, but you have to provide the same high level of service across the board to ensure a consistent brand experience. Transposing your brand voice across digital channels is a challenge to overcome.

Lets focus on the pure customer service aspect of this channel, and take a look at the inclusive features included within each platform that can be used to provide a better level of customer service.

Making the most from social media

It can often seem like an uphill battle and a lot of firefighting, but there are ways and means to be more effective, and social media platforms are continuing to help. Here are some of our preferred uses of the free features within social media platforms:

      • Saved replies on Facebook – In a statement of intent from the social giant, select business will now have access to canned messages. These means you can save a selected set of generic responses to offer consistent troubleshooting. Not only can these be personalised to users but you can think ahead when it comes to the types of questions you get asked frequently to ensure the response is foolproof.
      • Dedicated customer service channels – Try setting up a secondary channel to refer any users with customer service queries. This will save diluting all of the hard work you have put in to building up a reputable brand channel.
      • Page responsiveness Facebook metrics – Recently introduced was a page responsiveness trust signal. If a page meets the given requirements, users will see that typically, the business is active and responding within a timely manner.
      • Enhanced direct messages – Twitter recently increased the character limit in direct messages, this means you can be confident a conversation can be taken offline in a timely manner.
      • Quoted re-tweets – This is nothing new, but you can be sure conversations are not taken out of context or a number of differing threads. You can respond to tweets by quoting the original so people can see the conversation including your resolution.
      • Google reviews – A good way to boost your online profile is to amass a positive number of good reviews. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews, to override any negative ones. One of the most search engine friendly ways to do this is using Google my business. With a good number of reviews, people will have visibility of this when your brand appears in search results and for any poor reviews, you can combat these publicly.
      • Pinned tweets – You can pin select tweets to the top of a Twitter page. This is the ideal solution if you have an important message you need to communicate to your followers in a time sensitive manner. For example, if you know a service is down, save yourself some time by notifying and apologising in advance.