Social media channels are a great tool for businesses. They’re good for sharing upcoming events, sales, positive customer experiences, new products, and more. Communicating with your clients when they’re not in the store has gotten that much easier. As a result of this constant connection, consumers have started taking advantage of this 24-hour, seven-day-a-week ability to communicate with business owners. Social media platforms are all avenues to address issues they may have with the business or product.
The good news? The opportunity to provide individualized service and respond quickly can build trust and appreciation with your customer base. The bad news? Your reaction is also on display for all other current and potential customers to judge. (This latter point can prove to be a pro depending on how you approach it.) We’ve come up with some of the best tips and tricks to show you how to handle social media conversations to the benefit of your customers and your small business. But before we do, here are some important statistics to consider.
- 80% of companies believe they deliver excellent customer service, but only 8% of actual customers believe the same.1
- 33% of social media users prefer to use social media rather than calling customer service lines.1
- Customers who receive a service request through social media spend 20 – 40% more money.1
- 48% of customers who have positive interactions will tell friends about the customer experience on social media.1
Good or Bad, Always Respond
No matter how nasty or negative the comment is, respond to it promptly and in a professional manner. If the customer is especially upset, there may be nothing you can do to change their mind, and that customer is lost forever. However, your ability to respond directly and provide support could make a difference to another customer who sees the interaction. If they are deterred by the negative review, they could be comforted (and even convinced of a future purchase) by how you took the time to respond—it shows that you care and can be trusted, and that their purchase or services rendered are guaranteed to be supported.
DO look for opportunities to follow up with helpful FAQ articles on your site or make recommendations to provide a level of customer service that shows you are willing to go above and beyond.
DON’T take too long to respond. Almost half of customers who complain via social media expect a response within 60 minutes.1 Enable push notifications on your phone or set up email alerts so you are notified of the message or post right away. If you don’t have time to address the issue that moment, send a response acknowledging their concern and let them know that you are looking into it right away.
Seek out and Engage With Mentions
It’s easy to monitor conversations that are happening on your own page, but what about mentions across the web? Monitor your brand name and respond even when you’re not directly mentioned by a tag. First off, it’s a good way to get a gauge on how customers talk about your product or service when they aren’t sure you’re paying attention. Second, looking for and responding to indirect mentions shows your customers that you are always there and listening. Going out of your way to respond to mentions that you weren’t tagged in can make a customer feel special without even stepping foot in your store.
DO use customers’ names when you can to personalize the message and have a friendly tone. You can also sign off with your own name rather than just your business’s—having an authentic (and not automated) response shows you care!
DON’T engage with trolls or battle publicly. This will tarnish your brand for obvious reasons. Start communication as you would with any other customer, but if it becomes clear they are only looking to cause a ruckus, disengage or try to diffuse the situation via direct message.
Your brand presence can truly enrich your customers’ view of your business, even when you have issues or receive bad reviews. Use these tips to connect with your customers for the benefit of your business!
1Davidson, B. (July 27, 2017). A guide to social media customer care. Retrieved January 19, 2018, from https://www.headwaycapital.com/blog/guide-to-social-media-customer-care/