Leveraging social media for customer service

By Ashley Jang

Social media is a great tool for engaging with your customers and spreading news about your company. But what happens when customers begin using your social media channels to express their not-so-great experiences with your organization? Here are five tips to ensuring your social media pages allow for a positive customer service experience.

1. Stay on top of all conversations. Conversations about your company and your customer service may be happening without your knowledge. Make sure you are monitoring blogs, tweets and Facebook posts so that you can participate in all conversations and ensure unhappy customers are heard and engaged. There are many social media monitoring programs that you can use to manage your social conversations.

2. Bad customer service can happen outside of business hours. While most businesses work standard business hours, customers don’t always stick to business hours to express their concerns with customer service. Make sure you are taking the time to occasionally check out your social media pages on evenings and weekends to ensure that any urgent issues are acknowledged. The issue doesn’t need to be resolved immediately, but at least the customer knows that you care enough to respond in a timely manner.

3. Try to take the conversation offline. You don’t want to crowd everyone’s newsfeeds and timelines with your customer service issue. Whenever possible, ask the customer to contact you directly so that you can chat with the customer one-on-one and find out the best way to resolve the issue.

4. Online complaints should be handled as a priority. The benefit of using social media is that whatever you write is published immediately for everyone to see. As a result, the expectation is that the customer will receive a response more quickly than they would through traditional customer service avenues. Once a customer service issue is made public, you want to make sure the concern is addressed publicly and resolved as quickly as possible to prevent further escalation.

5. A bad situation can easily be turned into a good one. If you handle the situation in a timely and positive manner, it is likely that the customer will be happy with the outcome. And if you’re lucky, the customer will use social media to talk about the positive customer experience they had with your company.

Ashley Jang currently works as a Social Media Community Specialist for Staples Canada. She has a background in journalism, social media marketing, blogging and strategic communications.

By Adam

November 14, 2011