Provide great social customer service in five ways

Customer service has changed massively over recent years. That old saying about a happy customer tells one person but an unhappy one tells nine? These days you can multiply that by hundreds or even thousands thanks to social media. And this presents a massive challenge for businesses.

All firms know that excelling at customer service is an important factor in success, but this is no longer just about having pleasant staff or operating a help centre. Social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are giving consumers new ways to vent their frustrations, ask questions and make complaints. And to be effective companies must have an active presence on these sites in order to respond to queries and monitor conversations.

For five ways to make social customer service work for your business, read on.

1. Be where customers are

Wherever your customers are, you should be too. Anticipate all the ways they might want to get in touch or find and make yourself known there. Utilise #hashtags, likes, @mentions and sharing tools so that people know you are there.

2. Make finding and sharing easy

Ensure your customer service teams are well trained on how to use social communities and how to direct customers to support pages, forums, FAQs and so on. Be there to initiate and positively encourage communication, sharing and make it easy for people to find what they need. Know your content and industry and then share that knowledge.

3. Crowdsource

Using customer feedback in a positive way can boost engagement and loyalty. By showing that comments are taken on board you can ensure that customers feel appreciated and valued. Make the most of your social communities by leading discussions groups or ideas sessions and even product testing.

4. Manage reputation

Traditionally it has been PR departments that manage the reputation of a brand, but nowadays customer services teams have a role to play too. They are able to respond quickly to social interactions and must be briefed on company messages and situations to ensure they give an appropriate, honest and open response.

5. Crunch the numbers for great customer service

The great thing about online communications is that data can be easily tracked, measured and analysed. Figures on how often a tweet is shared or which statuses get the most likes can help to shape future initiatives.

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