Sunday, October 14, 2012

Using Social Media To Service Your Customers

Company Twitter and Facebook accounts are for more than spreading the word about a sale or special offer. A business can use this and other social media to enhance its customer service efforts. Even a negative comment or review from a customer is an opportunity to provide amazing customer service and possibly gain new customers. It is not difficult or time-consuming to convert social media into a customer service tool.

A separate corporate Twitter and Facebook account dedicated to customer service is the first step. When a customer tweets or comments to the main corporate account, reply and indicate that the customer service account will be contacting them. The issue can then be resolved through the customer service account via direct messaging, for privacy purposes. The complaining customer will be happy to have the issue resolved and prospective customers will see that your company takes customer service seriously.

Quick response to social media complaints from customers is imperative because it shows a commitment to timely customer service. Respond within five minutes and follow up after researching the issue and developing a potential solution. Provide your name in the response if it is coming from a corporate social media account. Customers like to know that they are dealing with a real person rather than an automated response system. Developing a personal relationship helps to establish trust, which can turn an initially rocky situation into a positive one.

Replies should always be friendly and reveal a desire to provide as much assistance as possible. Showing concern that the customer had a bad experience illustrates that you take the issue seriously. Though this approach is recommended regardless of the type or size of the business, it is even more important if you have a small work at home business because your customers literally put food on your table.

Never dismiss a customer issue or handle customers in an aggressive way. This will turn them off from the start and prevent an ongoing relationship from developing. Do not manipulate customer complaints to make them go away and never attempt to hide them. The social media world is a public one so every posting can potentially be seen by a global audience filled with prospective customers. These folks will be just as unimpressed by such handling of issues as the complaining customer is.

Every customer service issue should be tracked until resolution. Evaluating the response and solution provides insight into how successful the company was in its efforts. Be sure that staff did whatever they could to satisfy the customer and ensure that the professional relationship will continue. Learn from mistakes so they will not be made again.

Social media is a powerful tool that more companies are using every day. Harnessing it for customer service is free and can provide long-term financial benefits. Future sales that could have been lost due to dissatisfied customers will be saved and prospects will be converted to new customers. Taking customer service digital is just one way that savvy business owners are competing in this new world.

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