Technology allows companies to have more interaction with clients than ever before in history, and this comes with positives and negatives. Online forums are available at any hour of the day or night, and reviews are there for everybody to see. Your customers are talking about you on social media, and it’s important to find out what they’re saying. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your internet presence.
Be Social With Your Customers
When a client has a problem with a product or service, he or she wants an answer as soon as possible. You can have some of the best customer service software or customer support software at your disposal, but there’s no substitute for real-time interaction in an online forum. When patrons know you’re prompt to respond to concerns, they’ll be more likely to continue doing business with your company.
Play the Role of Giant Killer
It can be intimidating to operate in the shadow of giant corporations, but there are some opportunities available. Instead of viewing size differential as a disadvantage, treat it as a benefit that allows you to move more nimbly in a crowded sector. Social media can level the playing field, as a small company can create the same online presence as a multinational conglomerate. If you cultivate a reputation for quality service, your customers will provide plenty of word-of-mouth advertising to counter the massive advertising budgets of your competitors.
Communication Flows Both Ways
You should obviously use your social media presence to promote new products or give tips and tricks to help your customers use your services, but make sure you’re also listening to your clients. By keeping an open ear, you’ll be able to accomplish a few important goals:
• Spot patterns of customer complaints
• Come up with new products in response to unmet needs
• Keep an eye on the competition to see what they’re developing
Don’t fall into the trap of treating your social media platforms as if they were billboards. You’ll be selling yourself short on the true capabilities of this technology.
Sincerity Is Crucial
You hope nothing ever goes wrong with your services and products, but you need to be prepared to respond when it does. It might be hard to publicly live up to a mistake, but it’s better to control the narrative rather than having your social media platforms inundated with complaints, accusations and conspiracy theories. Inform your customers that you’re aware of the problem, and propose solutions such as additional helpdesk hours or even field representatives armed with cloud help desk software to provide on-site service. An honest approach is likely to help retain people in the wake of a crisis, and might even gain you some word-of-mouth advertising.
Follow the Golden Rule
When you’re faced with a decision with regards to your company’s online activities, just think about how you would like to be treated if you were the customer. Answer questions honestly when asked, and always offer apologies if one of your products or services isn’t meeting the customer’s expectations. Technology has a reputation for driving people further apart, but social media helps provide a direct conduit between businesses and customers.
Cayzu wants you to not only have an effective helpdesk to provide your customers with exemplary service, we also want to keep you up-to-date on the latest news in the customer service industry. In recent years, social media-based customer service has quickly increased in popularity, but that trend seems to have changed as more and more customers have started to step away from getting assistance through social media platforms. Learn what you can do to keep your social media customer service game strong and your customers satisfied.
Gather Customer Data
Just as customers hate calling and having to repeat information over and over to several different customer service agents, the same applies to social media customer service. Ease this frustration (and the possibility of losing a customer) by collecting customer data and making sure it follows the individual as he or she speaks with different representatives on the phone, online and any other mediums you use to deliver customer service. Our cloud help desk makes it easy for you to collect and review this information for maximum efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Speed Up Results
Bear in mind that this tip doesn’t mean you have to spend as little time as possible with callers and those who reach out to you online. What it does mean is your online helpdesk and phone system should be optimized for rapid transfers and queues in order that you can start helping your customers faster. We also recommend that you adequately staff your customer service department and that you regularly review performance for areas of improvement.
Your customer service representatives should be fully educated on the products and/or services you offer in order that they know how to best help customers. What’s more is they should also be well-informed of the most effective customer service tactics. Remember, knowledge is power!
Even if social media customer care is declining, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will affect you. Beat the odds by staying ahead of them and support your customers where they live, not where you want them to live.
Small business owners have more useful tools than ever when it comes to reaching members of their target audience, and Cayzu’s cloud help desk is just one of those resources. Professional uses for social media are plentiful, but small business owners will want to tighten their focus on a few methods in particular if they hope to generate useful leads and drum up more customers and conversions.
Target Your Audience With Laser Focus
Once you’ve identified your target audience, determine which segment is likely to be the most interested in the current services or products you’re featuring or plan on featuring in the near future. This helps improve the chances of your audience members finding your products or services to be of current relevance and value rather than something they could’ve used in the past but no longer do.
Harness the Power of Analytics
To help you with the above tip, use analytics to aid you in finding potential customers who have need of your services or products. When you do reach out to those individuals, you can also use analytics to see how well they respond to your efforts in order that you can refine your approach, if necessary.
Create Ambassadors to Your Brand
As you’re seeking out new customers, make sure you use your current satisfied customers to act as ambassadors to your brand. While you can have the best marketing and advertising campaign in your sector, nothing beats word-of-mouth from real, unpaid people who have given your business a go.
Seek Out Industry Influencers
Besides ambassadors of your brand, there also exist influencers in your industry. These individuals carry great influence in businesses large and small in your sector. If you can find one of the influencers, you’re sure to catch the eye of other businesses and potential customers as well. Another great thing about getting influencers in your corner is that it can save you on the amount of effort, money and time you have to put into marketing your business.
Make Communication Personal
Use personalized messages to interact with your customers rather than resort to spam or “blanket responses” that could apply to anyone. Your customers will like this approach better, and it can go a long way in fostering a sense of trust with them.
Contour Your Content
Whatever content you share on your social media channels, make sure it’s perfect for that social media outlet. For instance, Twitter is a great place to whet your audience’s appetite and use links that take them to full content. Facebook can be used for special deals, and Instagram is the optimum choice for sharing images and embedding links. Always ask yourself which of your profiles would work best for the specific content you’re looking to share or the overall results you desire.
Social media can be confusing at times, and trends can come and go in the course of a single business day. By utilizing these tips and depending on a reputable helpdesk, your small business is sure to start achieving the type of social media results normally only seen by larger businesses.
Before the ubiquitous and virtually unanimous use of social media, online vendors could be lax with their responses to customers’ complaints, questions, and even to filling their orders and shipping in a timely fashion. The nexus of social media and customer service has changed all that.
Now, social media can blow-up those same complaints and questions and make them go viral. It used to be that one unhappy customer would tell 10 people; now, that same dissatisfied person can tell a million. No company wants its brand damaged by a “squeaky wheel” posting on Twitter, such as, “Hey, <BRAND>, where’s my <PRODUCT>?”—that is, after the customer has chatted or talked to the vendor with no result or their email has gone unanswered. Celebrated case study in point:
In 2009, United Airlines damaged singer Dave Carroll’s guitar and refused to compensate Carroll an estimated $1,200 for repairs because he had failed to make the claim within the company’s “standard 24-hour timeframe” [sic]. Carroll immediately wrote, recorded, and posted to youtube the song “United Breaks Guitars.” Four days—and four million youtube views—later United Airlines’ stock plummeted 10 percent. The singer wrote another song describing his experience with a UA customer service employee, with the same social media effect.
Since the incident, Carroll has been in great demand as a speaker on customer service. In 2012, Carroll published the book United Breaks Guitars: The Power of One Voice in the Age of Social Media. In 2013, the success of Carroll’s online protest was used by the German television and news service Tagesschau to exemplify a new kind of threat facing corporations in the internet age.
Needless to say, all businesses, big and small, should take heed. Obviously, the basic challenge for online companies is to put out the fire before it spreads wildly when customers post negative comments on social media. Vendors have to monitor youtube, FaceBook, Twitter, Google+ and the rest, and address these posts immediately and preempt having to launch a damage control campaign—which United Airlines because of its customer disservice to Carroll expended a lot of resources on.
The social media and customer service knife can cut both ways, however.
Social media posts can also benefit a brand if they offer praise for a vendor’s efficient response, low-cost or free expedited shipping, reliability of service or products, etc. In other words, if companies are smart they are listening to what people are saying on social media. This is where there can be synergy between customer service and marketing.
Social media users’ praises can multiply into hundreds or even thousands of users now feeling very positive about a brand overnight—all from one good word posted by a user who has a lot of friends and followers, who all have their own followers, and so on. All of sudden, the brand has gained a bunch of new customers.
Prior to the advent of employing social media to handle customer service, it was a no-brainer for online commerce to capitalize on social media as a premier marketing tool.
Just as the static FAQ feature has gone the way of the fax (once the greatest thing since sliced bread), online customer service has had to quantum-leap away from the inefficiencies of the automated telephone labyrinth, automatically-generated “no reply” emails, and the submission of a contact form. Next to outsourcing labor, the greatest lament of the rise of cyberspace commerce is the disappearance of the human customer service representative. Companies which afford this now luxury to their customers have a leg up on their peers and competitors. Check out Patagonia for a grand exemplar of this once absolutely necessary communication channel.
The perception is almost ironic that customers today reap the benefit of a personal interaction with a vendor if the latter responds via electrons and pixels of social media. Yet this dislocated correspondence is considered to be one of the advantages that businesses gain by such communiqués.
Where the rubber hits the road, also, is that customers want to be responded to in kind when they post to social media. If customers tweet their complaints, for instance, vendors have to serve those customers by tweeting their responses.
Other advantages, when an online business monitors social media 24×7, is the immediate response, for both customer and vendor. Consider that customer service begins the very moment a web surfer comes to rest upon the sands of a site. They might want to buy something the vendor sells, but first they might need to ask a question about it. If the site doesn’t have a way to answer immediately, the prospective customer may know or at least hope the business has a social media command center as alive and present as Gatorade Command Central, for example, and they will immediately post their concern on social media.
People want answers now—not when a chat feature is live again tomorrow. This is especially true when people are on the road, planning to travel, or having technical difficulties—it may be now or never for your business: people will spend their time looking for another brand.
Most especially with social media, companies must be aware of the high visibility of the quintessential digital public space. Past, current, and potential customers; competitors: “everybody” is watching. This is where the edge of the social-media-customer-service blade can cut for the vendor, though, if it handles things excellently. In order to do that, again, continuous monitoring is a sine qua non.
Fortunately for those online brands just getting their feet wet in the social-media-customer-service command center waters, they don’t have to start from the original models of 24×7 Armed Forces readiness, law enforcement 911 centers, or FEMA. They need to look no further, Cayzu Help Desk simplifies the potentially infinite amount of confusion surrounding the marriage of social media and customer service.
I will be the first to admit that I’ve had a long and not so happy experience of dealing with a variety of web hosting companies in my life. And what I’ve learned the hard way is that you pay for what you get and when you try to go cheap, you will have problems!
So during a recent outage of my past web hosting company (this company is huge by the way) I decided to perform what I called: the Social Customer Service Experiment which involved me trying to get support during the outage through a variety of their different support channels. Initial and follow up response times have been documented and put into the below infographic.
The clear winner for me by far, with the fastest and most up to date information was the support I received through Twitter! Hope you enjoy!
Looking for a social media enabled Help Desk Solution? Cayzu can help! Check us out now for a free, no obligation trial!
When customers can’t reach your company—or get an immediate response—through traditional channels such as your main phone number, help desk, or email address, they typically turn to your social media channels. In fact, recent research has found that 67 percent of consumers have used social media to resolve customer service issues in the past, and that figure is likely to increase.
From the consumer’s perspective, it makes sense. Rather than spending time waiting on hold, they’ve discovered that companies, fearful of appearing unresponsive, are quick to answer consumer requests through social media.
How Social Media Customer Support Works
One industry that handles social media customer service particularly well is the airline industry. Since most air travellers use their mobile devices in airports, it’s easier than ever for them to get in touch with the airlines after, say, their flight has been cancelled. In these cases, it pays off for customers to post a message through the airline’s Facebook or Twitter page; often times information for the next available flight is posted immediately.
Create Separate Social Media Profiles for Service
Even for a small business, it may be a good idea to create separate social media profiles that are solely for service. That way, you can easily track the number of people who are responding to social media marketing and those who are seeking help. You can also analyze this data to find out how quickly you’re resolving customers’ problems and find ways to continually improve your response time.
In order to execute this, you’ll need to have a system in place that automatically monitors your social media properties for any questions or concerns from customers, so that trained service representatives will be able to address concerns quickly and efficiently. Although it may take some work to get started, keep in mind that in the long run, social media service is likely to save both time and money.
Even with full-time staffers, it’s impossible to respond to customers around the clock. So make sure you let customers know when they can expect to hear from your company via social media. For example, remind customers by posting “We’re here M-F, 9am-7pm EST” that you’ll get back to them during business hours.
Make It Personal
When customers communicate with your brand online, they’re looking for a personal connection. So make sure that each of your service representatives is using his or her first name when they talk with customers. Friendliness and a bit of a personal touch go a long way toward building rapport with online customers.
Make the Commitment
If you decide to take social media service to the next level, make sure you do it well. If you’re not fully committed to meeting customer needs through social media, your efforts could backfire. When you don’t respond to social media users promptly, customers become frustrated and you might as well not have a social media presence at all. Remember, a help desk solution that monitors your social media properties automatically for your will help!
Let Us Help You Help Your Customers
Cayzu can help you set up a plan for monitoring your online interactions with your customers so that you can provide outstanding customer service. With our online help desk support software, you can manage all of your customers’ help requests from a single portal no matter if they origination from the phone, email, chat, your web site, or even Facebook and Twitter.