Customer Service and Social Media, and Why They’re Joined at the Hip

When you are a consumer purchasing from a business or subscribing to a service, you check if they have a listed office address, e-mail address and phone numbers – these are important for customer service. Nowadays, consumers first check whether or not the business has presence on the web. Before, when we talk about web presence, we mean a web site. Now, it has expanded to having social media presence.
The more active a business is online through social media channels, the more reassurance we have that they are a real, reputable company that supplies great product or service. In this digital age, an active, well-maintained social media presence can really make or break a business.
It’s simple. People nowadays turn to addressing business through social media channels for customer service inquiries, issues, and complaints. We all know that customer feedback is spread like wildfire in social media and this holds true for businesses too. Customers now expect and demand more interaction because of social media.
It has become essential therefore, to have interactive social media presence to deliver good customer service. Customers (existing or potential) would rather address you through Facebook or Twitter than pick up a phone and call or send an e-mail.
This is why customer service and social media are joined at the hip. You will also notice that best practices for good customer service also apply in handling yourself when interacting with a social media customer.
Here are some best practices applicable for handling a business’ social media channels and customer service:

1. Reply immediately. Act fast.

It is true that there are certain issues that wouldn’t be solved in just one e-mail, tweet or comment, acknowledging their inquiry or issue goes far. It makes them feel important.

2. Be apologetic, not defensive.

When handling complaints, it’s important to accept the blame for the issue. One needs to still be as friendly as possible. Remember, customers are always right – and they are not blaming YOU, but the situation and the product.

3. Resolve the issue the fastest way possible and be concise.

Social media channels don’t care for lengthy messages, especially in Twitter. If the issue requires longer interaction, move it to e-mail. Try to be concise with your words but not curt. Always acknowledge once the issue has been resolved.

4. Keep your customers in the loop.

A great advantage of social media channels is being able to update your customers real-time. It is one of the reasons why customers go through these channels. Take advantage of this situation –it will appease your customers.

5. Go the extra mile.

Don’t just aim to fix the issue or please the customer, your goal should be to WOW them. Going beyond what is expected of you is the one most likely to get the better customer service experience and one that is most likely to get shared. One way to do this is to offer something extra to customers – you create the opportunity for some positive advertising through word of mouth!
Remember, social media channels are public avenues for praise and criticism. If you handle customer service through social media channels well, you are setting up for an effective way of advertising and marketing your business.
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