Social media is becoming more and more ubiquitous. How many people do you actually call? Text, maybe!
Outside of the business world, who emails? Jokes (memes) are sent through DMs (direct messages) now.
People use social media for everything- to apply for jobs, shop, get referrals, do a background search, find affinity groups and so much more. Many people find and research businesses on social media. The rate and review of those businesses. Therefore, businesses must be present, communicative and helpful through these channels. If a business is reaching out through these channels but not responding through them, it seems duplicitous.
Respond. Respond Now!
For better or worse, the world moves faster now than ever before. Information is at our fingertips. I do not even bother to look at a clock any more when I am in my house because Alexa will tell me the time faster than I can make it to my kitchen. Remember the hours people used to spend on the phone waiting for the customer service representative to be free. While for many companies this is still their way of operating, for others they are utilizing social media.
People want a solution fast, especially when they are dissatisfied. Social media provides quick communication making it perfect for reaching customers who have questions, concerns or complaints.
Privacy be damned
We are in an age where what once was private is no longer, criticism included. Some feel that it is their civic duty to publicly review businesses, especially those that have failed them. This really requires businesses to have a social media and customer service plan.
Facebook and Twitter are the most popular places to formally or informally rate and review businesses.
Facebook allows businesses to be formally rated. People can choose a star system and leave a comment. This is a great place for businesses to capture people’s feedback, but it should not end there. This is also a place to respond to those people who take their time to leave you feedback, good or bad. And respond quickly.
Facebook shows visitors of business pages the typical response time of that business. Automatically, possibly before they even start to use your services or products, potential customers can make a judgment about how reliable you are.
Twitter is another place businesses and consumers are going for customer service. Twitter is viewed as a constant conversation. Twitter users like immediate responses even more so that Facebook users.
A quick response seems impossible for many business owners and executives, but if a company is serious about their social media exposure and their customer's experience on social media, it is probably worth it to have someone on the team dedicated to this.
So what do you do when a customer complains about you on social media?
If your first response is to be defensive, hold off. Remember- other customers and potential customers are watching. No one ever expects they will go viral, yet every day we see a viral video of someone at their worst!
Apologize for their experience and offer to help them with their problem. Then decide, logically and rationally, how much of this should go on social media. Successful problem solving can be a great way to brand a company.
Quick responses are important and to add another challenge to interact with consumers on social media is the small space. Facebook does not limited text, but Twitter has a limit of 280.
While there are some concerns that cannot be addressed in 280 words, it is still important that you respond publicly and direct that customer to another way to reach you, such as DM (direct message). I suggest this method because it can be instantaneous, and if they are on social media, that is what they are looking for: quick and efficient.
Do you have to wait for a complaint?
Customer service is about more than complaints; it is also about building relationships. Being active on social media and asking your customers to contribute and engage with your builds can build trust in a brand. It shows that a company values its customer's experiences and not just their purchases.
Having a strong interactive presence on social media also tells customers the company is available and open so if a problem does arise it will be handled (and companies need to make sure this is not where they drop the ball). Having a robust presence will also disarm customers who have a bad experience. If a company has spent time reaching out on social media, highlighting and valuing customers, a slip up will be seen as uncharacteristic mistakes; we all make them.
If customer service is not part of your digital marketing strategy, take some time to really consider this.