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Best Practices of offering Social Media Customer Service

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The philosophy behind social media’s creation was to make conversation easier. It didn’t take long for social media to bring brands, big businesses and celebrities closer to the masses and slowly it became a primary channel of communication for raising concerns sharing positive as well as negative experiences. Social Media has grown into a connectivity giant with the ability to make or break a brand by creating a PR crisis in a matter of two tweets. Owing to the strength of influence, having a customer service strategy for your social media platforms isn’t an option anymore. It is necessary to have it.

Some genius once said that a successful business is the one that reaches its customers wherever they are. Social Media customer care, being rather new is fairly overlooked by businesses. However, successful stories like spectrum customer service prove otherwise and their business development with customer satisfaction speaks volumes of it.

Some businesses confuse at the point whether they should let their social media managers handle customer care situations or not. Since letting them handle such situations without proper training is a recipe for disaster. Since, how you plan your social media customer care strategy tends to make or break your brand image and trust me as I say that it spreads like jungle fire. To avoid this, I am listing down some of the best practices of Social Media Customer Service, that most industry leaders swear by:

Be Responsive

Responding to a customer’s query instantly is one of the cornerstones of building a positive brand image. However, active listening is the key to this cornerstone. There’s a huge difference between really listening and just hearing. So, listen closely to your customer’s query, try putting yourself into their shoes, understand the issue and act accordingly. Do not act hastily, I repeat, take your time before you respond. There are various tools available to help you with listing all the queries mentioning your brand (both obvious and indirect) across all platforms so you can sort and deal with them one by one. Setting up a dedicated social handle for support might help you screen out what you need to cater to. However, most customers tend to tag or mention the company while reporting their experience.

Devise SOPs

Let’s get this straight, once and for all, Social Media Marketing and Social Media Customer Support are two DIFFERENT things and require a different skillset each. So relying on your social media managers to handle customer support effectively without any training is like hoping to become a mother of dragons, for real.

That is not going to happen, right? So to mitigate that, make sure you devise an actionable and exhaustive set of standard operating procedures for your agents to stick to. These guidelines must include details about the:

  • Tone of conversation
  • Ideal response time
  • Answers to FAQs
  • A well-defined protocol for handling serious escalations and issues.

Keep a close eye on relevant conversations

Consumers tend to mention brands via hashtags rather than tagging the business itself. So you might as well have to keep a close eye on the conversation that is building around your brand. Research once quoted that most global brands were mentioned in hashtags during 91% of the instances as compared to only 9% of the instances where the brand was mentioned properly.

Take public conversations to private whenever necessary

Take a situation where a customer raises a concern on a social media platform. Practically “everyone” is watching. Try to take pre-emptive measures and don’t prolong the conversation publicly, instead politely request the customer to shift to direct messages and figure out a middle ground together. As you don’t want to wash your dirty laundry out in the street.

The bottom line – In order to make your customers happy on social media, make sure you respond promptly after sufficiently understanding the situation. Make sure you remember your brand’s positioning while deciding your response to the customer.

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