Social media is the best avenue to get close to customers. The tech savvy customers of the era can be found spending time on the social networks and when they do so, they often want to share a few words with the brands. Social media customer services is not a luxury anymore, it is a must have for brands who want to retain their existing customers and build a group of brand evangelists. But to make it big in the social media customer services you need to have a good strategy in place. The strategy should be a sort of rule book for things to do and what not to. But if you are new into strategizing for the social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter then the task can seem daunting. Though social customer service is a new thing but the principles of service are largely same as you will find later on. Do you sit back after setting the customer service phone lines? You do not, right? Similarly a little proactivity is required when you are using social media channel to communicate with customers. Some of the principles that you should include in social customer services are mentioned below.
Answers should be prompt
When you set a Twitter feed or Facebook page and promote it as a customer service channel, the effect is same as publishing your phone number or email address for customer service. It is a type of promise to the customer that someone will be there to answer their questions. If someone is not there after the promise has been made, then the customers have every right to feel annoyed. If you wish to offer customer service through social media at specific times, communicate this to the customers with last and first post of every day. This will serve as a reminder of the business hours for the customers. You have to make sure that the replies go out quickly. Especially for Twitter, this is known as a channel for immediate communication. Customers wait for a maximum duration of one hour before moving to another channel.
Utilize the Technology
There are lots of useful tools that will help you in social media customer care. There is a tool that will help you search through Twitter to find Tweets that mention your brand name. You can look for other relevant keywords too. Some tools will allow you interaction queuing, performance measurement and allocation of work for agents. You will definitely receive many more queries that you initially plan for, so stay prepared with technology.
Choose Right Representatives
There are no different set of skills for a representative handling the social media customer services. The person needs to be courteous, good in communication, skilled in rapport building and aptitude in problem solving. The agent should have a knack for helping people. Only special skill is: being tech savvy and ability to write well. After recruiting the right agent, train the person continually and make sure there is a list of company policies in place for customer interactions.
Using the Business Insights
When you interact with customers ask for their feedback spontaneously. Tell them to judge the effectiveness of customer service on social media. At times you may find the problem sighted in the feedback does not relate to customer service but some other area of your business. Digital medium of social media helps in storing the feedback and sharing it with the relevant departments within the organization. The business issues should be solved quickly or they may pose problems in the long run.
Personify Each Communication
Social media is a great rapport building channel; do not waste its potential for laziness. The cut and paste responses should be totally banned from your social media customer care plan. Use the first name of the customers as a sign off to let them understand that they are dealing with a human. Avoid jargons and never argue or confront the customers while interacting. Remember whatever responses you give will be visible to the public.
Provide Good Experience
Try to solve most of the customer issues in the same channel that it has come up. If at all, this cannot be done, make sure that the same agent deals with the customer in a traditional communication channel. Other members of the staff should be briefed about this rule.
Social media is a good broadcasting tool, so use its potential. If there is an issue that is coming up again and again, let your other followers know about the solution. May be a link to the FAQ page or some video can be shared that clarifies the doubt. It will save you from answering hundreds of tweets or posts.
Like all other customer service channels there are plenty of ways to measure the effectiveness of your social media customer services. Some of the metrics worth considering are: number of query resolutions, time to answer, number of queries that had to be solved in another channel and the time taken to provide a solution. This will help you argue with anyone over the worth of having social media customer service. When compared with the costs of imparting customer care through other channels, social media would cost the least.
As you can see the rules of social media customer care are nothing alien. They are quite similar to the conventional customer care principles.Author's Google+