When you think of customer service, perhaps you think of a desk in a shop with a smiling lady, ready to greet and alleviate any issues people have had shopping there. If that is the first thought to come to your mind, then you need to get with the times, because many businesses are putting huge amounts more effort into customer services online.
How does online customer services work? Well, it turns out that people’s love of social media has led to them adopting it as their way of announcing gripes with their experience of, well…anything. Because company social media channels are in the public domain (rather than having privacy settings – you want to reach the widest audience, after all), it means that complaints aimed at your business are there for everybody to see.
So if customer service now encompasses the online world, particularly social media, how do you maintain an excellent level of customer satisfaction and preserve your brand image?
Identify Where Your Customers are Online
While it’s usually social media where customers express their concerns, the number of social media websites has significantly increased in recent years. Are you a fashion retailer? Chances are your target demographic will have a presence on image and video network, Instagram. If you provide a service, there might be more people on Twitter. It’s important to determine where your audience hangs out online to be able to have somebody at the ready to answer queries and give solutions to troubled customers.
Facebook can be considered a core platform, so having a presence on there is highly recommended. Having a colleague monitor activity on your Facebook page allows your business to promptly resolve any negative comments. You don’t need to shy away from angry and negative reviews of your business either, because doing it the right way can actually boost your brand image.
Establish a Uniform Customer Service Culture on All Platforms
Because of how fragmented social media has become (heard of Snapchat? You should have), it means that your customer service presence might end spread across multiple platforms. It’s great to cover all relevant platforms, but it’s crucial that you ensure your responses conform to a set of standards that all social media-monitoring colleagues are aware of. If you don’t, then customers might catch wind of discrepancies between a response on one platform and a response on another.
It looks unprofessional if social media responses vary in tone, voice and the resolution they provide. Whilst you want your social media presence to be personable, it’s important to always meet brand guidelines to maintain good professionalism.
Utilise the Public Nature of Social Media
As you already know, social media is effectively a huge, public community. It’s a conversation that people from around the globe can witness and participate in. So whilst this can be reason to monitor social media so as not to neglect negative comments, it can also be a reason to promote the resolution of customer issues, or just to share customer satisfaction stories.
Positive social media posts about your business can function as persuasive testimonials, so it’s great to share them when you can. Because each person’s social media profile is a unique representation of them, social media comments can actually be more effective than on-site testimonials at convincing potential buyers of your business’s value. This is because their social page authenticates them as an actual person who is a genuine third party to the company.
Do Something Special for Your Customers
Coming off the last point on the public nature of social media, if you go above and beyond with your service to customers, people will notice. Many smart brands have provided vocal customers with service that's ended up going viral, which as you’d expect, is great publicity. Have a little fun with your audience, if you see an opportunity to do something special, seize it. It might just propel your business into the limelight.
Customer service has evolved with the internet, and while it means customer complaints are more visible, businesses have capitalised on this visibility by putting great resources into their social media. By ensuring you have a presence online where your customers hang out, you can support your audience and promote your brand image all at once.