Part II: Steps to Ensure Your Customers Enjoy Their Social Media Experiences
Thanks for checking back in for the next segment of How to Develop an Effective Social Media Customer Service Experience. If you’re just joining us, our previous post discussed how companies could actively listen to and engage with their customers. We’re now going to review the customer expectations to help your business succeed on social media.
Dear companies, as a consumer we want to ensure our voices are heard, our complaints are fixed and our questions are answered in a timely manner. Even more, we want to interact with your business on our time and in our own personal space … on social media. Not too sure about broaching this subject yet?
According to Nathan Mendenhall, 38 percent of people reported having negative sentiments toward a brand that didn’t give them a timely response to their customer service issue on social media. Within another recent study by Oracle’s Global CX, we discovered that businesses could lose as much as 20 percent of revenues because of poor customer service; annually, bad customer service cost companies in the U.S. around $83 BILLION!
We’ve also read that 71 percent of consumers who experience a quick and effective response on social media are likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to 19 percent of customers who do not receive a response. On the bright side, consumers tend to spend 20-40 percent more with companies that engage and respond to customer service requests over social media.
Now that we’ve gotten your attention on how social media affects your ROI, let’s talk about what this means to your company overall.
When customers engage with your company on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms, they expect a response. Even more, they anticipate finding a team that’s available to help answer questions, resolve their concerns and instantly respond. It’s OK if you’re not sure how to successfully offer an exceptional social customer service experience; that’s what I’m here for. Listed below are a few tips to help your team (It’s OK to start small with 1-2 people, if necessary.) create the best experience for your customers.
1. Set expectations
Make sure you let your customers know exactly what they can and cannot get from your online support.
Available times Establish in your About sections on your pages when your team is available to help, and hold your team accountable for it. This lets customers know if they post after office hours, then a response might take longer than normal.
Alternative methods of help When your team is offline, make sure you have information on your page of other ways customers can get help. For example, provide the 1-800 number, email address or online chat link for support.
2. Timing matters
Response time matters to customers. When you can tweet or post instantly to a page, many consumers think they should get a response back just as fast. Unfortunately, we cannot control time, but making sure they are answered in within 24 business hours of their original post is extremely important. Below we list some customer expectations for various platforms:
Twitter Many consumers expect an instant response or within at least 10 minutes of their initial mention of your business.
Facebook Most people are a bit more understanding and might expect a reply within a few minutes to 24 hours.
Google Play In my experience, customers do not have an expectation of a company responding.
But the reality of the situation might look a bit more like this:
Twitter During business hours, tweets might be responded to within seconds of and up to 10 minutes after a mention. You don’t want someone to be waiting for long time, since Twitter is always moving fast.
Facebook For this platform, the expectation and reality are close. You’ll want to respond ASAP or at least within 24 hours.
Google Play Through my experience, the sooner the better, especially if you need additional details or information from a customer.
3. Manners matter
Your customers are human, too, and you’ve got to treat them as such. This means that when you address them, you should use the steps from our first segment: ask questions; show empathy; take responsibility; offer solutions; take action; and follow up.
4. Be transparent
Honesty is always the best policy! Seriously, it is, and your customers will love you for it. It’s OK to let them know something went wrong; no one expects your company to be perfect. However, don’t sugar-coat things or make them seem better than they actually are. Consumers can smell a rat from a mile away, and you don’t want your company to be known as such.
5. Have fun
It’s just that simple! Allow your team to interact with customers in a friendly manner, if your brand voice allows, and not only with a stuffy corporate voice.
When a customer sends you a break-up letter on social media, it’s OK to write a love letter back to explain things and try to win them back to your side. It’s fun, the customer loves it and it might even give you a second chance.
6. Remember it’s social media
This one is twofold:
Everything — and I do mean everything — you post or tweet is put under a massive consumer microscope. The slightest misspelled word, incorrect punctuation or missing word can cause an uproar with some people. Be careful to double-check your responses before sending them.
Social media is a living, breathing platform that is continuing to evolve; that’s good news. Knowing this will not only help your team determine where they are needed most (Facebook vs Twitter vs Google Play vs Google Circles), it will also give them a chance to put more effort toward that area. DON’T forget that if you have a page, regardless of how often it’s used, someone will find it and post to it expecting a response.
Now that your business has lots of insights into what goes into an effective social media customer service plan, go forth and make a difference with the next consumer who mentions you on social media. If you’re still stuck on what to do next, it’s OK; our team is here to help! Shoot me an email, tweet, text or phone call, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.
Just remember, your customers are what make your company successful! Meet them on their level to help them love your company even more.
Make sure you check back on Monday for the final segment: Dear Consumer: Steps to a Successful Social Media Engagement to learn how to address companies as a customer on social media.