Gone are the days when the consumers expect support after they had purchased the product. Today, in the age of social networking, customers expect companies to offer their support long before they have made their mind to purchase and way after they have made that purchase.
Nowadays, customer service is not just a stand-alone process but an essential part of the entire buying cycle. And that’s why it’s no longer considered only as a support service but an inseparable part of marketing and sales.
The corporate giants are well aware of this fact and that is the reason they leave no stone unturned when it comes to utilizing every medium available to interact with the customers and take advantage of every such interaction to impress, offer value and make the sale.
One such medium which carries a vast potential within but is often ignored is Social Media (no, it’s not just used for liking and sharing posts or tweeting). Gartner also supports this fact, claiming that by 2020, 90% of the companies will be using social media for customer support.
Are you still planning to ignore social media for offering customer support? Probably not, but where to start, what guidelines to follow? Luckily for you, I have compiled a list of beginner’s steps to follow in order to effectively implement social media strategy into your support service.
Hire the Social Media Friendly Staff
Everything is public and viewable by customers as well as prospects when it comes to using social media platforms, so it’s highly recommended to prefer individuals who have experience in business processes and communication rather than going after interns or candidates with flawlessly written communication skills but are clueless about how social networking works.
Plan Well your Social Media Strategy
By planning well, I mean engaging your customers in meaningful conversations and valuing their time on social media. Your strategy should also include syncing in with other popular channels that your customers might be using to communicate about your brand and using it effectively to solve customer inquiries in such a way that they feel compelled to recommend your brand with their friends and colleagues.
Listen Closely to Social Conversations
Listening to your customers’ talk on social media will help you identify the areas that need improvement along with whether your social strategy is lacking in marketing or service. Here’s what you can do,
a)Learn what is being said about your brand.
b)Try to read in between lines i.e. understand their sentiments.
c)Figure out the objectives and expectations behind those comments.
Prepare a Project Plan
After having a general idea about the social conversations, define your objectives (such as what resources are needed, the processes that need to follow and how to measure performance) as to what you expect from the implementation of social media into your customer service. Also try to include features that aim to improve the resolution time, reduce the cost of service, and enhance user experience.
Install a System to Respond Quickly
After getting acquainted with the queries, comments, and complaints that are mentioned often by your customers, try to find what are the best ways to respond to them as quickly as possible. Mostly there are two options available, either you can hire a team member solely dedicated to replying to social messages or can segment responsibilities between staff members according to different social platforms available.
Use the Element of Surprise to your Advantage
Though many times, customers use social media to inquire or complain but you cannot deny that often times they drag you into debates just to troll your company (one reason being they don’t expect you to respond). But you can turn this to your benefit by reaching out in a friendly way to help them solve the issue. Receiving a warm response from your end will serve as a nice surprise to them when they aren’t expecting any.
A Tip: when you realize the trolls getting out of hand, steer clear of the conversation but do not under any circumstance feed this troll by sinking to their level.
Switch Modes of Communication whenever Necessary
Now I understand when the customer reaches out to you on social media, you should also respond therein, transparency is essential when it comes to providing quality customer service but sometimes, switching the conversation to private seems a more viable option, the key here is to understand when to make the move.
For e.g. too much tweeting and retweeting on both ends will not only sabotage the image you are trying to build for your company but can also be equally frustrating to your Twitter followers.
Once you have learned how to use social media effectively for solving customer queries keeping in mind all the above-mentioned points, you can gladly encourage them to share their positive experience on the very same platforms. Who knows, you might be able to convince them not only to delete the original (negative) messages but also to replace them with the positive reviews after receiving a satisfactory response.