Multichannel customer service is no longer a luxury that progressive companies use, it’s become an industry norm. A study conducted by social analytics company Simply Measured found that 99 percent of brands surveyed1 were on Twitter, while another 30 percent had a specifically dedicated customer service account, Social Media Examiner said, citing Simply Measured statistics. It’s becoming increasingly evident that customer service and social media can go hand in hand.
With that in mind, here are three principles to consider about social media customer service:
1. Different channel, same service: Just because there’s a more relaxed aura surrounding online network users doesn’t mean companies should sacrifice the service provided via social media. While the interaction can be more lighthearted, the end goal is to directly address any question, comment or concern that a consumer may have. Depending on the severity of the issue, a brand may want to just be straightforward and communicate in a professional manner. However, if a customer makes a lighthearted comment, then the company can reciprocate and show their personal side as well. The objective is to create strong relationships in a highly interactive
2. The quicker the response, the better: The average response time for respondents in the Simply Measured study was five hours, with 10 percent of businesses responding within the hour. Although it’s difficult to assemble a qualified team to patrol social media at all hours of the day, a timely response is best practice when it comes to realtime communication. A Lithium Technologies study found that 53 percent of consumers2 expect a company to respond to their tweet within an hour, and that figure jumps to 72 percent when they have a complaint. If brands neglect to respond, consumers take punishing actions. For example, 60 percent of respondents said they’d be more inclined to express their dissatisfaction publicly.
3. A social persona should be passive: When it comes to customer response, companies need to be aggressive in finding a solution as quickly as possible. However, the overall personality of a business online should be informative and passive, if anything. There are going to be unpleasant patrons no matter which channel a company explores, but that doesn’t give it a free pass to negatively react. An intimidating post or poor reaction often leads to the wrong kind of publicity. Engaging in an argument with a customer or another business online will always be a losing proposition.