Social media has drastically changed the way we do customer service. Hotlines and face-to-face interactions are still utilized but tweets and comments have become more popular for customers especially for those looking for immediate answers to their inquiries. Social media has provided a 24/7 platform for companies and consumers to interact with each other.
In this two-part series on social media blunders, we have previously tackled the marketing mishaps brands often commit. Today, we’ll shift our attention to customer service, which is the primary reason why 73% of top performing companies invest in social media. As much as it is brimming with potential, customer service done through social media can also be seen as landmines waiting to explode with a little misstep. Let’s look at some costly mistakes you need to stay away from.
Not responding to comments. Nothing is more disastrous than not responding to your customers. You are not only going to lose them but you’re also putting your brand credibility at risk. Once you have a social media account, people expect you to be there and accommodate their inquiries. Brands are becoming more proactive in their responses, too. In 2012, companies were only answering 30% of customer questions while in 2013 it doubled to 62%. If you don’t reply to your customers, most likely your competitor will.
Inability to respond quickly. Delayed response is almost similar to not replying. Your customers know that there’s no downtime with the internet. They can get the information they want anytime and there’s no excuse that your brand can’t provide the same. In fact, 30% of users expect a response within 30 minutes while 42% expect your reply within an hour. Sending quick replies to your customers will not only keep them but also move them to patronize your brand even more. Customers end up spending 20-40% more toward a company that responds to their requests through social media.
Selective replying. Any form of customer feedback is valuable. This involves the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some companies reply to positive comments only and completely ignore negative remarks. This is a huge mistake because it shows that you don’t value your customers equally and you only favor those who say good things. You need to remember that complaints happen because they have either tried your product or showed interest by inquiring. However, they didn’t have a good experience in those instances. Make sure you take time to genuinely apologize and address even negative feedback.
Lack of social media strategy. Social media is a very crowded environment and jumping into it without a plan in mind can be costly. You need a concrete strategy especially in the area of customer service. Social media management needs constant monitoring. You should have a clear direction or process that shows how your team should handle customer inquiries and complaints. From the grammar to the tone of your reply (i.e. relative to the type of social media site) and the specific departments who will handle the more complex complaints, all of these should be laid out clearly to ensure smooth execution.
Resorting to automated responses. Customers hate canned messages. Those impersonal and robotic replies turn an annoyed customer into a furious one. The reason why customers resort to social media is because they look for real and personal interaction with your brand. Mentioning their first name is the best way to start a reply. Repeating a portion of their specific concern also shows that you paid attention to their feedback and you’re not just sending an automated response. Make sure that you are truly “social” when you’re interacting with customers via social media.
Your customers deserve the best service even if they’re communicating online. You may not see them but their tweet is just as valuable as their face-to-face comments. Excellent customer service should run across all platforms especially in social media where both praises and criticisms can easily go viral. Being mindful of your response time, etiquette, and strategy will help you establish an efficient and accommodating customer service that will be lauded by your customers.
About Pepper Social Media
Pepper Social Media is an online marketing firm that specializes on social media management, content marketing, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, copywriting, and targeted blogging. Our creative team consists of experienced marketing strategists who can fortify your brand identity and amplify your reach.