A Social Strategy for Customer Service
Companies are increasingly turning to social media channels like Twitter to address customer service issues. As a real-time customer touch point, social networks provide a great opportunity to keep a current customer loyal or win over prospective customers by responding quickly to their questions and complaints.
However, does that mean a company should–or needs to–respond to every customer tweet or Facebook post? An eMarketer article suggests that companies “don’t need to respond to every ounce of negative buzz.” The article suggests letting other customers (or brand advocates) address some of the problems.
That strategy can backfire, though, if a number of customer questions go unanswered. A recent survey found that 84% of consumers expect companies to respond on social media within 24 hours after a post–and 42% expect a response within an hour, according to research cited by Jay Baer. Nearly half of respondents in a Conversocial survey said they’d be far less likely to buy anything from a company that had unanswered complaints or inquiries on their social sites.
Don’t leave your customers in the lurch
If customer questions are bogging down your brand page on social sites and your social media team, consider establishing a separate page for customer service-related issues. For example, Comcast’s @comcastcares page on Twitter is a good example of a company successfully setting up a separate presence to handle customer issues. Even Twitter has its own support page.
Maybe the thought of managing multiple pages makes your head spin. If you’re not going to address customer concerns on your brand page, consider directing customers to where they can get help. This is also a good tactic if you’re in an industry that deals with sensitive personal and/or financial information, such as banks.
If your company is constrained either by budget or resources—or both—and you know you won’t be able to respond to every customer question that comes in over the virtual transom, establish criteria to help prioritize the questions you should respond to. Consider whether the problem or question is related to any of following:
- Brand reputation
- Product quality
- A potential legal issue
When you do respond to customer complaints, keep in mind that it matters not only what you say, but also how you say it.