Social Media Customer Service Tips to Help Your Online Reputation

By on January 12, 2015

Customer service has always been an integral part of every business throughout the history of business.

Now, customer service is more important than ever, because customers have more influence on public opinion. Using social media as a vehicle to connect with their own network and beyond, the average consumer can instantly tell hundreds and potentially reach thousands of other consumers with their opinion about your company, your product, or services. Therefore, delivering excellent customer service goes beyond just one customer and can have an impact on your company’s online reputation.

The Value of Existing Customers

Of course, this doesn’t devalue the importance of making each customer happy on an individual basis. That still remains important for the reasons it always was important to retain existing customers and make them happy. In fact, recent studies have shown that it is 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. Remember that when it comes to making a current customer happy. Many companies focus on a budget for acquiring customers but don’t establish a budget for retaining customers. If this is your policy, follow in the footsteps of successful companies like Zappos and Ritz Carlton Hotels and develop a new budget aimed at making customers happy and empowering your staff to make good on those promises.

Steps towards a Policy of Customer Service

There are several steps that you can take to ensure that your company becomes known for customer service excellence. One thing’s for sure and that is the customer service priority and policy must come from the top level of management and include everyone in the company.
Here are the 3 pillars of customer service success:

  1. Every department and every employee should be trained in customer service. Everyone from upper management and executives to the billing department and janitorial staff should be trained in delivering a consistently good customer service experience.
  2. All employees’ first priority should be delivering on customer service. If your employees are incentivized to make sales or collect money, they will prioritize that job over customer service. Your customer service policy and training must show everyone that a happy customer is a priority over all else.
  3. Empower employees to make good on their customer service training. One of the main complaints from customers is the amount of time spent and having to speak to more than one person to resolve an issue. Empowering employees to quickly handle and resolve a problem leads to happy, repeat customers.

Social Media and Customer Service

Since social media channels are so public facing, many customers not only use it as a vehicle to complain about service or share their experience with their own social networks, but they also use it as a means of contacting the company to ask questions and resolve problems. Even though the social media team is part of the marketing department, they must be trained in customer service and work hand-in-hand with the customer service department to handle customer needs that are posted to any of the brand’s social channels. Often-times customers will ask a question on Facebook or Twitter thinking that they will get an answer quicker than if they used email. Keeping your social media alerts and monitoring active will help you deliver satisfaction in that area. When customers do complain about a problem on social media or leave a poor online consumer review, your teams must react quickly to avoid a reputation management situation. In many cases, you can resolve an issue by apologizing, showing empathy, and expressing a desire to resolve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction. Once this is establish in the social public’s eye, you can take the conversation offline and complete the service via email or telephone.

Summary

There are always exceptions to every rule. The old saying “the customer is always right” isn’t always necessarily true. Not every customer is worth saving. However, when you develop this policy that prioritizes customer service, puts existing customers on a pedestal, and empowers trained staff to resolve issues, your company will be better off for it and more successful. Every customer service manager knows that there is an occasional customer that is too difficult or tries to always get something for free. It is perfectly fine not to continue to do business with those customers. The point here is that when you deliver good customer service as a rule, you will be known for it and you will have a reputation for it.

About John Wieber

John is Partner for WebMoves, and has 13+ years experience in web development, ecommerce, and internet marketing. He has been actively involved in the internet marketing efforts of more then 100 websites in some of the most competitive industries online.
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