Thanks to modern technology, we have unprecedented access to everyone and everything. This can either help or harm your business, especially when it involves social networking. If you try to avoid social media—or worse, don't run your social media platforms correctly—it could harm your business as consumers flock to your more social media-savvy competitors.
However, if you properly engage consumers on your social media platforms, it will be extremely beneficial for your business. Many of them are already tethered to social media from the moment they wake up until they are asleep. That’s why one of the best ways to use social media is as a customer issue resolution tool.
Why Social Media Is Important
You need social media to compete in this increasingly internet-based world. Unfortunately, people love to complain, especially when they can do it from the comfort of their own computer. Although businesses have become accustomed to seeing the occasional negative review or complaint, viewing a constant bombardment of complaints on your social media page will make people question the viability of your offerings and customer service.
Unfortunately, blocking them (assuming that they aren't “trolls”) is simply not an option. You don’t want to further anger already irate customers; you cannot block them from talking to their friends or writing negative reviews other sites. On the other hand, if you publicly address the customer service issue, not only will it satisfy most of the complainers, but you will also see a spike in consumer goodwill. In essence, handling customer complaints on your social networks can be a powerful marketing tool if you use it right.
5 Ways You can Use Social Media to Handle Customer Service Issues
Simply knowing that you need to resolve customer service issues via social media will not get the job done. You need to have an intelligent plan of execution to optimize the business benefits of handling customer issues on your social networks. That being said, here are five ways you can handle customer service issues using social media:
- Monitor your comments, messages, tags, hashtags, etc.: If you don't know about a problem, you cannot solve it. Make sure to check your messages, tags and comments at least once per day. Also, be on the lookout for negative hashtags circulating about your business. This usually indicates a much deeper problem than a basic customer complaint, but you need to be aware of them. Also, you can potentially resolve the problem by contacting and helping the customer(s) who started the negative hashtag.
- Respond quickly: Nobody likes to be kept waiting. The faster you solve the problem, the better the customer will feel about your company at the end of the day. Also, never forget that irate customers will not stop at your page—they will lambaste you on other sites as well.
- Be (a little) picky: You should never ignore customer complaints. However, the customers with the most followers (biggest reach) should come first, since their influence can help (or hurt) more.
- Follow the basic customer care tenets: Listening, empathizing, apologizing and actually resolving the issues are key elements to properly handling issues via social media. Treat them as if they had walked into your store or office with a complaint.
- Use the social media platform that they prefer: If a customer complains via Twitter, don't contact them via Facebook because youhave more followers there. If they complained with Twitter, it is because they prefer it instead of other platforms.
At A Better Answer, we believe we can handle almost any customer service task for your business—including social media. To learn more, contact us today.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.