How Social Media Can Help Brands Improve Customer Service
Somehow, somewhere along the line, consumer behavior shifted away from calling a business on the phone to simply pulling up their website or social media on their mobile device. Now, businesses can have a strong presence in a customer’s mind without that person even setting foot outside of their home.
This omnipresence can be beneficial, particularly when it comes to customer service. Think of it this way: previously (and, for some businesses, still), a customer had to dial a toll-free number and navigate a tricky series of automated menu options with fading hope that a real, live person would ever come on the line.
Then, when all options were exhausted, chances are that the person who was on the other end of the line would be unhelpful or that somehow the customer would have been transferred to the wrong department. This prompts the entire process to start all over again.
Frustrating and familiar, right?
Now, this doesn’t have to be the only avenue for a business to offer customer service. Now, brands can turn to social media to offer the best point of contact to customers looking for help or wanting to offer feedback.
However, this can still require some tactful handling, and customer service on social media must be sharp. Studies show that nearly 80 percent of customers who go on Twitter to contact a business expect a reply within the hour. This may seem like a tall order, but in today’s world of instantaneous communication, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
It’s easy to set up notifications to the person in charge of social media so that customer inquiries do not go unnoticed. Another option, popular on Facebook, is the idea of chatbots. Facebook’s business page manager now allows for the use of automated responses to customer messages. These automated messages can give a response to let the customer know when to expect a response, which can help with impatience during off hours.
Customer service through social media can boost a brand’s reputation and increase consumer loyalty. A brand that is always responsive, friendly, and helpful will enjoy more repeat business from happy customers, and more referrals from those who have had positive experiences.
Studies also show that nearly 80 percent of users feel more positively towards the brand after they receive a response on social media. This does not only apply to direct messages, but it’s also important to remember. Mentions, comments, tagged posts — all of these should be monitored and responded to in a timely manner.
Particularly with customers who may have had a negative experience, a quick and helpful response is important. As the old adage implies, word of mouth is powerful and most customers love to talk about their negative experiences as a warning to others.
Customer service will always be an important part of every brand’s interactions and success. Harnessing the power of social media to help with this can do wonders for a business’ profile if this is done correctly. Timely and helpful interactions can boost consumer loyalty and favor and can help poor reviews from doing damage due to lack of follow through.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading Public Relations agency.