Over the last few years, we’ve become more and more accustomed to how much immediacy the internet and social media, brings us.
It’s only been nine years since the video rental chain, Blockbuster, ceased trading. Yet, visiting a video store to pick out the latest films, rather than immediately load up Netflix seems much more outdated.
The landscape for eCommerce has changed too. Amazon is shifting the notion of what constitutes a quick delivery timescale to make next day and same-day, the norm.
When we start to get the things we want when we want, our expectation starts to drift into other aspects of our life. Consequently, impatience can quickly start to set in when roadblocks are experienced.
Think about the last time you had to spend two hours on hold to your mobile phone provider when your bill unexpectedly shot up. Or, when you had to email back and forth to find out when your new trainers would be delivered.
All these inconveniences seem minor in isolation but it’s all part of the customer journey. As a retailer, if you’re being marked down for poor service, you might never see that potential customer again.
Social Media as a Customer Service Tool
To quell the need for immediacy more customers are taking to social channels, Twitter in particular, to get quick answers to their queries from retailers and service providers. That’s without the hassle of having to trawl through complicated contact forms or rack up expensive phone calls.
If you don’t keep on top of your social mentions and keep your customers happy, it can lead to negative sentiment, poor reviews or even escalate into a bigger social media PR storm in rare but volatile circumstances.
Here are our top tips to help you make the most of social media for customer service, to keep your customers happy:
#1 Set expectations
While your customers might be able to send you an email anytime, it’s highly unlikely that your customer service team will be available outside of usual working hours.
To get around this, make it clear what days and time people can expect to receive a response in your bio.
You don’t want to be sharing sensitive data and order information publicly. Set the expectations early on about what can be discussed before taking it offline and discussing over the phone, email or DM.
Tip: DM stands for Direct Message and it’s where you can privately message other social media accounts without others seeing. This terminology is used primarily on Instagram and Twitter.
#2 Don’t shy away
If you see a post slamming your delivery service or questioning your returns process, don’t ignore it. This is a golden opportunity to show you’re listening and willing to help.
If there is a complaint, you don’t need to go over the top sending out over-emotive PR blurbs for simple misunderstandings. Apologise, offer a solution and fix it – particularly if it was as an error caused on your side.
#3 Monitor the conversation
Keeping in the loop is key to helping you stay in control of the conversation online.Product Gift Guide Make sure you’re checking trending topics and searching your brand name and mentions for the sentiment.
Set up a hashtag or phrase search on Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to see what people are talking about. Jump in if you think you can offer assistance. This is especially important if you have a more obscure username or handle.
#4 Keep a content calendar
While it’s good practice to plan ahead and automate your posts, you don’t want to fall foul of a poorly timed tweet which makes light of a serious breaking news story that is doing the rounds.
Monitor trends, current events and news and be ready to pause any post queues or promotions if you feel your audience would find them in poor taste. You can always reschedule after the dust has settled.
#5 Manage social media account access
Assigning roles to ensure that your staff have all the account permissions they need to carry out their job. However, don’t be too generous and assign full access if it’s not required.
Keep a record, a locked spreadsheet works, with who has access to your accounts. You should also change passwords regularly and draft up an exit policy for staff leaving the business to avoid any errant posts being sent.
Above all, learn from your mistakes! If you think you could have handled a query better, make sure to improve your processes for next time.
If you’re answering the same questions on a daily basis, signpost solutions to these on your website and reduce the burden on your frontline staff.
Get in touch
Struggling to find time to manage your social media channels? Or looking to drive value through paid social media ads? We can help.