Social media is really cool to keep in contact with your customers. I can’t think of any other marketing method that is as direct and personal as social media. If you really think about it from a business perspective, doesn’t it make sense that it also makes for the perfect platform to give fantastic customer service?

Not only can this constant connection give you the opportunity to take care of something quickly, but it also gives you the chance to show your customers, their followers and yours that you are responsive to answer questions and you are quick to take action to ensure your customers are happy. Keeping your customers happy should be your #1 priority after all.

Working on social media, I will admit to feeling more compelled to run to social media first when it comes to questions or issues I have with any business.

One of my favorite places to grocery shop is Earth Fare but because it’s a bit pricier than other grocery stores due to organic products costing more, I was hoping to find some ways to save money. I headed over to the Earth Fare Facebook page and inquired about receiving a discount for buying in bulk.

As you can see below, I was quickly responded to and happy to hear I could receive a discount and even given the name of the manager to ask for when I go there to shop to ensure I get the discount.

Earth Fare Social Media Post

This absolutely made my day, but imagine all the other people who saw my question and wanted to know the same thing.

Their response to me accomplished several things.

  • Quick response time.
  • Public view of my satisfaction as a customer.
  • Most likely helped other people who hadn’t yet asked.
  • Made my relationship with Earth Fare even more loyal.
  • Increased my purchasing with them because now I only want to buy my organic in bulk from them to receive the discount.

This is what social media customer service is all about!

There are plenty of great stories out there from companies using social media for customer service but if you really want to take full advantage of the power of social media for customer service, I’ve got a few helpful tips to share.

1. Encourage your social audience to give you feedback and ask questions. Instead of just posting from your own perspective, invite your audience to get involved with your social account and make comments and ask questions. This will keep them from feeling that they have to go to other forums to complain about your company or ask questions.

When you are launching a new product or service ask them what they think about it. If you are coming out with a new product or service, ask for feedback on how you can make it better for them. When people feel that you value their opinion they will be more likely to give it and come to you directly when they have questions or issues.

2. Be human and connect with your audience on a personal level. You will be surprised at how coming across as an actual person and not just a faceless business, will make a difference in how someone feels about your business.

Show your face and if possible use your name, even if it’s simply to sign the comment at the end under your business profile name. This will create a much more personal connection between you and your customer.

3. Respond quickly and enthusiastically. Nobody likes to feel ignored. A customer who asks a question or posts a complaint on your social media account should receive a response from you within a single business day, preferably hours.

Even if you can’t answer their complaint or question immediately, let them know you are going to investigate the issue and get back with them. This will keep their frustration to a minimum and keep others who view the comment from thinking that you don’t handle customer complaints very well.

4. Monitor your online reputation. I’m not talking about just on your own account profile. You absolutely must be vigilant about monitoring your brand and what is being said about it on all social networks. There are tools you can use such as Social Mention to monitor what is being said about your business and if you are using an agency to handle your social media, be sure to inquire if that is a service they can provide for you.

If you are using a social media management software, such as Sprout Social, you can even setup your account to monitor for your brand keywords so you don’t miss a single mention of your company.

5. Deal with negative feedback in a positive way. It’s easy to get defensive when someone says something negative about your company online. It’s okay to be upset something when the comment feels unwarranted, but as a business owner, you have to learn to handle that type of feedback in a positive way.

If you choose to respond to something negative, handle it in a professional manner and invite them to contact you directly so that you can help them to resolve the issue. It puts the ball back in your court and shows other people who may be reading their feedback that you care about your customers and are proactive in resolving their concerns.

6. Show them that you care about their problems. You will probably be tempted to take all complaints offline or even delete them from your social accounts. Don’t make this mistake. By taking away the public view from the problem you are losing the chance to show the customer with the problem and your entire audience who may be watching the discussion, that you care about your customer.

Even when your business is at fault, if the problem is handled professionally, a resolution is given and an apology made, the transparency of this discussion gives you loads of credibility with your customers. This is a prime example of turning a complaint into something positive that can actually work for you.

7. Create useful content that addresses customer concerns. Do you get the same common questions or issues coming from your customers or prospects? Perhaps you sell a product that requires some instruction and customers aren’t quite sure what to do. Providing that sort of helpful content through blog posts on your website and linking to them from your social media account is an excellent way to solve problems and show your social community that you want to help.

As you monitor the questions and comments that come in to your social account, you can quickly provide them with the links to the information and invite them to come back to the discussion with any other questions.

About the Author: Misty Spears

Misty Spears is the CEO of Blue Cricket Media and Chief Coffee Drinker. She is passionate about marketing and loves helping businesses grow into great success stories. She has more than 10 years working with an IT focus in the multifamily and education industries and truly enjoys working one-on-one with other CEO's to grow their business and increase ROI. You can find her on Twitter to hear about her latest adventure, favorite coffee bars or bragging on her amazing shoe collection.

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