Co-written by Lisa Vormittag, VAI and Louis Richardson, IBM
Many people today consider themselves skilled members of the social media community, logging in frequently to their Twitter, Facebook, and/or LinkedIn accounts. We tend to view social media as a communication tool as routine and necessary as email and phone calls. However, many probably don’t view these accounts as an engine to enhance customer service across their organization.
So, why does your social presence matter to your customers? It offers customers an informal way to connect with you, outside of the often strict and rigid confines of a business environment. This gives you an opportunity to cultivate your business relationships, and provides you with a platform to establish yourself as a credible and trusted consultant. From sharing pictures, company promotions, celebrating milestones, and quickly responding to customer comments, social media is a powerful tool that helps you get to know your customers on a more personal level.
Want to turn your social channels into a valuable customer service platform? Try incorporating the following strategies into your social behavior:
- Quick Responses – People are drawn to social media because it offers a way to quickly and easily connect with others. In order to take advantage of the on-demand nature of social media, set up alerts to track customer comments, so you can respond in a timely manner. In addition, the best customer service social profiles feature regular posts that incorporate a mix of professional content, like product tips or company news, as well as demonstrate the company’s personality, for example birthday wishes or pictures from company events.
- Engage with Customers – Social media, regardless of the engine, allows you to track what your followers (customers) are saying about your company, the products you sell, and the services you provide. Listening to and engaging with your followers provides valuable insight on what you’re doing well, and areas where you could improve. Don’t be afraid to ask your followers for feedback, via surveys and product reviews.
- Acknowledge Negative Feedback– It’s no secret that customers turn to social media to publicly vent about a company or product. Oftentimes, our gut reaction is to immediately remove any and all negative comments. However, publicly acknowledging and responding to criticism can actually help strengthen your customer relationships. Customers want to be heard, and an immediate response with an appropriate solution communicates to all your followers that your company takes customer service seriously. Mistakes happen, but how you deal with them is what sets you aside from your competition.
Your presence on social media can simultaneously expand your brand, and propel your customer service to a whole new level. For businesses today, social media is all about sharing information, personalizing the brand, and enabling a fuller and richer customer service experience.
Chief Financial Officer