It wasn't that long ago, before the advent of social media, that if you had an issue that needed to be rectified with a store or business, you either phoned their customer help department or wrote them a letter.
Whether this was to complain or thank them for their service, both of these channels were viable contact points, but the response time could be many weeks until you received acknowledgment of the issue that you initially raised. However, In today's social-driven world, businesses have lost the control over the customer as it only takes one disgruntled customer on Twitter or Facebook to damage your brand image.
The whole point of social media is to encourage interaction and communication. We all know that if used effectively, it can be a great promotional tool to increase brand awareness and showcase your business, but users have become used to getting answers and feedback within hours of posting.
The truth about your customer care department
Customers don't have the time to search the web for your customer help address and they don't have the time to phone your call centre and wait in a queue to be served. They simply don't see your support phone number or email. They just see your business on social media so they will complain on your Facebook wall or @ you in a Tweet for all to see.
Make customer service work for you
- Your social media customer care team should be listening what is being said about your brand online. It may be the case that you are automating your posts and broadcasting, but you should never neglect your profiles because there is a risk that negative remarks could be made and be shared within hours. There are many online monitoring tools and simple notifications that can be set up through email so you can keep track of activity.
- Your social media team should have plan of how to deal with problems. They may be creating your marketing content, but also need to know how to handle a crisis.
- When an issue has to be dealt with a decision has to be made, whether it should be handled privately (via traditional channels) or, whether to consider going public where you can demonstrate that you listen and care about your customers and can create a positive outcome for your brand. As to whether you 'delete or not delete' the comment, It is considered poor form to bury bad press as this can lead to complaints going onto other social platforms and making the problem worse. Proving you can handle these situations and adding value for the customer is even more important than just creating informative and engaging marketing content.
- Review your business and see what the common issues are. Measure your customer satisfaction ratings and if there is a problem. Fix it!
A report by NM Incite in 2012 found that 71% of those who experienced positive social care are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19% of customers that do not receive any response.
Social media isn't just about marketing
As social media continues to grow, it is really important for businesses to accept the fact that consumers will turn to online channels to either complain about service issues and in many cases praise you. It's very easy for your customers to go elsewhere if you fail here, so unless you get this point of your customer journey right whatever you achieve with your social media marketing can be damaged by your lack of care.
If you aren't listening and responding to your customers then how do you expect continued loyalty for your business?