Corporate Eye

How To Execute Excellent Customer Service Via Social Media

customer-serviceMany people make the mistake of believing that social media is simply a sales or marketing tool. In fact it is one of the most rounded tools any business can use, aiding in areas such as market research, business development, and most importantly, customer service.

Customer service plays a large role in the customer experience, and displaying good customer service can go a long way towards gaining loyal and returning customers. Social media has become the preferred method of many when it comes to resolving product or service disputes, as the consumer is offered a level playing field on which to contact a company representative quickly and directly, without the need for lengthy periods on hold while a call is passed from department to department and without needing to wait the typical 24-48 hours handling time for an email enquiry.

But what can a company gain from having all their customer service issues viewed publicly by potential leads and loyal customers on their social media channels? If executed correctly, you as a company can display your excellent customer service and dispute resolution skills publicly, something many customers value highly in a company as mentioned before. But what constitutes excellent customer service on social media?

Fast Response Is Essential

tesco customer serviceOne of the keys to demonstrating excellent customer service skills in a fast paced environment such as social media is speed. Responding to a Tweet, comment, wall post or direct message as quickly as possible is essential. If you can’t find an answer to their query within an hour of them posting it, a courtesy reply or comment to say you are on the case and will be back in touch ASAP goes a long way.

Tesco are a great example of always posting prompt and detailed replies to customer service issues and even general feedback on Tesco services.

Do What Needs To Be Done, Not What The Script Says

zappos customer serviceToo many customer service teams, especially in call centres, are told to stick to a strict script when it comes to solving customer issues.

But everyone is different, and although the issues they have faced may seem common enough to fit into a box or category, their own personal reaction to the situation and how the issue has affected their life and loyalty to your company can vary with every individual case. Therefore your staff should be trained to have the freedom to do what they feel is necessary (within reason of course) to keep this customer happy.

One customer may feel a refund is enough, or may even accept an apology, whereas another may feel that ‘sorry’ just doesn’t cut it, and want some compensation.

American retail website are known for their generous and thought out customer service, often saying sorry and offering $50 vouchers for mistakes on their part, and in this particular example going the extra mile when the customer says it’s not enough.

Ask People To Tell You Their Issues, And Offer To Help

xbox customer serviceDon’t just wait for the issues to come to you, because often people will brood in silence or post about your company without you knowing it. I see plenty of posts every day saying ‘O2 signal down again! Argh!’ or ‘Why has my Amazon order not arrived yet it was due 2 days ago?!! Not happy!’. Those are just a couple of examples from my Facebook friends in the last hour, so imagine that appearing on 600 other Facebook feeds, not to mention if they post on Twitter and what about the people who like/comment/reply to the post/tweet? Then their friends of friends will see it, and before you know it Amazon and O2 could have lost 100 potential customers without knowing it!

So starting the conversation and offering people the opportunity to come forward with their problems is a good way to encourage people who may not usually think to speak directly to the company to let you know what’s wrong. It allows you to get feedback on your products/services and gives your unhappy customers an invitation to voice concerns, big or small.

Microsoft’s @XboxSupport Twitter account are well known for this. To the right is a prime example of good customer service in practice on Twitter.

There are plenty more ways you can make the most of social media as a customer service tool; do you have any to share? Tweet me @NatJWilson!

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Natalie Wilson

Digital Marketer
I graduated in 2011 with a 2:1 degree in BA HONS Journalism and have since set up my own freelance business specialising in digital marketing. I write for a variety of digital marketing blogs as well as working on blogs and social media channels for clients in a range of B2B sectors. You can catch me on the following social media channels: Twitter: NatJWilson; LinkedIn; Google+.