Ask the Experts: Q&A with Our Social Media Customer Care Team
Peter Panda | Director of Animal Stuff

We’ve all had that customer. You know the one. Catchphrases include:

  • We’re NEVER coming back here again.
  • I am taking MY business elsewhere.
  • Well, they did it last time.

And the ever so iconic:

  • Can I speak to the manager? 

But with as much as we have to say about those customers, many times customer service is just as much to blame. Many of us have been on both sides of the table. So with all of this experience under our belts, why is it still so difficult to figure out the perfect brand-to-customer dynamic? 

Technology, in a word. We have moved well beyond the days of traditional customer complaints and leapfrogged into the era of scathing reviews, Twitter wars, and full-blown online brand assassination. And while finding yourself in a tricky customer situation is practically inevitable, most grievances can be easily diffused with the help of an effective social media customer care strategy. 

So let’s chat with two of Elasticity’s Social Media Customer Care Specialists, Kianna and Megan, and learn a thing or two (or nine) about the art of online customer care:

1. What is your best tip for brands when it comes to effective customer care?

Kianna:  Effectively listening to your customers is key, especially when they’re experiencing a problem. Ask yourself: What’s the root of the problem? How would I feel in this situation?

Megan: Powerfully empathetic statements, finding effective ways to problem-solve issues, and take action by incorporating appropriate teams.

2. What is the biggest misconception of working in customer care?

K: Engaging with negative comments doesn’t make a difference in customer satisfaction.

M:  That the customer service rep should provide sympathy instead of empathy to the customer. 

*As a brand/organization interacting with a customer/clientele, our goal is to show that we not only care about the issue but also understand the personal effects it may have caused.

3. What is, in your opinion, the best way to market a customer care service?

M: By using our own social media channels to market ourselves as leaders in the customer care industry.

K:  Go the extra mile to show that customer service is an important part of the brand’s overall marketing strategy.

4. Where do you see the future of customer care going?

K: Customers want the convenience of digitally connecting to companies. This results in agencies and brands needing to increase their digital footprint to enhance their customer service and satisfaction. Especially to increase or improve your retention rate. 

M: The future of customer care is digital. We’re seeing more review sites and social media outlets (e.g. Reddit) popping up every day. It’s important for brands and agencies to know where their customers are in order to address problems, concerns, and feedback in almost real-time.

A business is only as strong as its customer base is loyal. With the customer’s voice being broadcast louder than ever, responsible customer care practices are an indispensable tool in a business’ arsenal. Going beyond pre-written apology scripts and sympathy discounts, businesses must look at a real, human strategy to ensure their customer’s loyalty. Because remember: even that customer is still a customer.

Peter Panda
Pioneering social media panda bear Tagawa “Peter” Panda was born on a Chinese game reserve in 1969. He emigrated to the United States in 1987 speaking no English, with only the fur on his back and $97 stored in a Jansport fanny-pack wrapped around his waist. In 2003 while searching for food on the campus of Washington University, he discovered a computer lab where he would ultimately teach himself web development, graphic design, and immerse himself into the growing digital media evolution that was erupting at the time. With his trademark surly demeanor developed during beatings on his boat ride from China to the U.S., as well as having a penchant for eating vast quantities of bamboo, and enjoying Scotch and cigars, Peter is broadly recognized for coining the phrase “social media” in 2004. He joined Elasticity in late 2009 as the agency’s director of social media strategy and wildlife relations. Friend him on Facebook here.
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