Contemporary businesses have gone social in many aspects, including customer service and listening to what users have to say online. The trend is two-fold, as almost 70% of consumers already use a corporate social media page for servicing.
This way of providing customer service enabled companies to strengthen relations with potential or existing clients, speeding up the service along the way. To put it simply, companies learned how to maintain effective communication with customers on social media.
However, the methods of managing customer relationships are not the same in every company and there is no universal solution. So, let's find out the essential tips for providing effective customer service on social media.
10 Ways to Handle Customer Relationships on Social Media
According to the study, when businesses engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those consumers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company.
Therefore, it is not the issue whether to utilize social networks for delivering customer service but rather how to do it in the most effective manner. Let’s take a closer look at 10 ways to make the best out of this process.
1. Focus on Important Networks
The biggest mistake that small businesses make is trying to focus on all social media channels. Small-sized teams can hardly handle all this work, so you better focus on social networks that match the nature of your business. For instance, Facebook gathers over 2 billion active users, so you might think about this network first. But what if your target audience is much more interested in Instagram and Pinterest? Can you really administer all of them simultaneously? Take some time to think about it before creating too many social media accounts.
2. Engage and Be Natural
Customers wish to interact with company representatives naturally, using everyday language. You don’t want them to think that you are some kind of a robot who gives canned responses and doesn’t really understand their inquiries. On the contrary, clients who address you using social networks want to feel appreciated and respected.
The best way to achieve this is to add a little human touch to the conversation and call them by names. You always have to be polite but not too formal - unless you conclude it could help you to solve the problem faster in the given situation.
3. Respond to All Comments
It takes a lot of time and effort to monitor every piece of information about the brand on social networks, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to minimize negative publicity. You need to answer every meaningful comment, question, or mention to prove that you care about the opinion of your users. This way, you also get to guide online discussions about your brand, avoiding the possibility of public outbursts.
4. Respond in a Timely Manner
Responding to all inquiries is mandatory but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t respond quickly enough. Research revealed that the quarter of Facebook and Twitter users expect a reply to their complaints in less than 1 hour, while 66% of social media users expect a response within a day.
You can’t afford to ignore this fact. Basically, it would mean that you ignore the customers, which is the worst thing that could happen to the Customer Service department. Of course, people know that it’s impossible to answer immediately every time they post a simple question, but you have to indulge them sending the response within the reasonable timeframe.
5. Take It Offline
“Sometimes it’s just not possible to solve the problem immediately and calm the user down. This can endanger your online reputation, so we try to take the issue offline as soon as possible and resolve the problem shortly to show the customer we really care,” explains Tim Brown, a customer support manager at EduGeeksClub.
What you can do is to ask your client to send you a private message or call a customer service manager. Doing so, you will do two things. First of all, you will show the online community that you take each problem seriously. More importantly, you will prevent negative publicity and take the issue outside.
6. Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
Loyal consumers are the foundation of successful businesses. According to the research, the odds of selling to a new prospect range between 5% and 20%, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60% and 70%. Loyal buyers spend more but they also become brand advocates in the long run. Your job is to nurture relations with these people, encouraging them to praise your services furthermore.
7. Turn Critics into Supporters
If you don’t solve users’ problems, you can’t expect them to become loyal consumers. But as soon as you start resolving issues promptly, you will encourage customers to share the positive outcomes with the digital community. Show customers that you care about their opinion and you will notice that the number of brand advocates is growing. There is no big philosophy here – all you need is to do your job and you will be rewarded.
8. Think Twice before Making Public or Private Resolutions
Sometimes it is necessary to express your opinion both in private conversations or publicly. This is simply the nature of the business and you should not be afraid of speaking your mind. However, you definitely don’t want to sound awkward and give users a reason to judge the brand for controversial statements.
9. Use Software for Precise Monitoring
It’s easy to say that social media demand constant monitoring but it’s not possible to do without software support. It will help you to detect all brand-related mentions and also to follow the overall brand performance.
In that regard, we suggest you use tools like Hootsuite or Buffer. These and other similar platforms help you to schedule social media posts, analyze user behavior, measure the impact of each post, and report about it. If you have a wide palette of products and thousands of followers, these apps will be a lifesaver.
10. Clever Use of Hashtags
It’s much simpler to follow a certain topic if you dedicate a special hashtag to it, especially in case you want to solve a common problem. For instance, a lot of users might be asking you the same question about delivery costs. If you create a hashtag such as #freeshipping, the word will spread around and you will be facing a lot fewer inquiries. At the same time, it is easier to find user-generated topics, discuss them with your followers, and solve potential misunderstandings eventually.
Most companies use modern means of communication to approach clients and answer their demands or inquiries. Social media are one of the crucial tools in that regard and you should use it to optimize your customer relationships.