Keeping customers happy has always been a top priority for small businesses everywhere. We'd only just begun to master handling customers in person and over the phone when the social media boom hit. According to SmallBizTrends, 7 out of 10 consumers prefer giving their business to a business with a social media presence. Social media is a popular form of communication, and a valid method of retrieving information about a business for most customers. So it's in our best interest, as small business owners, to really learn the ropes of social media communication.
Here are three ways to keep your customers happy when communicating via your business's social outlets:
Respond to Comments.
Starbucks is great at responding to customer comments. Starbucks is a huge brand name. Let's be honest, even if they didn't respond as frequently to their customers' comments, they'd still have a huge following, and yet, they go the extra mile to really let their customers know they're heard. Customers often comment back with, "I'm can't believe Starbucks is responding to me!" Even when the initial comment is a complaint, most people can appreciate a quick, genuine response. You'll also notice that Starbucks doesn't respond to each comment with a generic response; they try and personalize their messages where they can. If Starbucks can respond to their hundreds of comments a day, we can definitely take the time to respond to our small business customers.
Don't Sweep Problems Under the Rug.
In the age of screen shots, you truly can't delete something once it's on the internet. Chances are, if a customer leaves a complaint on your page, other customers have seen it before you have the chance to delete it. So get out of your head that deleting negative comments is ever okay! Instead, respond quickly and genuinely with something along the lines of "We're sorry to hear you're not happy with our product/service! Please give us a call at your earliest convenience so we can remedy the problem." That way, your upset customer, as well as any other potential readers, knows that you care about fixing problems. You want your customers to be happy, and you want them to know that you want them to be happy.
Additionally, once the problem is fixed, there's no problem leaving another comment on the original complaint; just something brief to show that you're happy that the issue was resolved. The problem with public comments is that everyone can see the initial complaint, but they rarely see the final result.
Highlight Your Customers.
A great way to highlight your customers is to host a promotional contest. With a contest, not only are you drumming up interest in your business, but you get to learn about your customers as well. A contest that involves customers posting on your Facebook or Twitter wall talking about or taking pictures of themselves is a great way to get your audience involved in your social presence.
One of my favorite contests we've ever hosted was our "What Makes My Business Unique Video Contest." We asked our customers to post short videos explaining, you guessed it, what makes their small business unique. We got a great response, partially, I believe, because people loved being able to share a bit about themselves in a social setting.