Social media presents a unique customer service opportunity for small businesses and other service-based organizations. Instantaneous and highly accessible, organizations can reach their audience directly and foster connections not easily duplicated with traditional communication. It also provides essential information about customer needs. Here are a few tips to maximizes social customer service:
Outline customer service rules.
Let customers know when and how their request will be addressed. List your hours, type of issues that can be handled online and the average response time. Provide as much information as possible to manage expectations.
Use tools to manage online interactions.
Tools ease the strain of online customer service, streamlining the process with automated solutions. The Social Media Examiner lists four great tools for effective social media management.
Personalization is key.
With social media, consumers expect to have a genuine interaction with the company they are contacting. Avoid any scripts or vague language. Make every response as specific to the situation as possible.
Respond quickly and wisely.
Given the immediate nature of social media, customers expect timely responses. Do not wait longer than 24 hours before replying to a service issue and try to follow up within 48 hrs. If it is a particularly complex issue, resolve offline. Additionally, make sure to address ALL complaints, even those that may not seem important or urgent.
Even if comprehensive social customer service is not an option, use these tips as a guideline to improve your customers’ online experience. They are also useful for other organizations such as colleges and nonprofits who interact with the public. For additional tips and inspiration, check out this Buffer case study about businesses that have used social media as an effective customer service tool.