Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool

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Does the thought of social media scare you? Not sure how to handle negative comments on Twitter or Facebook? Check out our tips for navigating this new way of customer service.

 


 

With social media becoming ever integrated into our lives, it’s no surprise that customers are expecting their questions and complaints to be dealt with via social media. However, without the right planning and preparation, this new form of customer service could lead you down a rocky road but done right, you can rise above your competitors. We’ve put together these tips to ensure you’re well equipped to tackle the challenge.

Make a Plan

Firstly, plan your social media strategy and within that define how you will use social media to build a relationship with customers and which tools you’ll use to do it. This includes the processes for handling feedback and passing on queries and complaints to the appropriate people. Also, don’t forget to create a process for handling complaints and managing crisis scenarios – care needs to be taken in these situations as a complaint on social media can rapidly turn into a much bigger problem depending on the customers following.

Don’t dodge negative feedback

It may seem easier to not respond to negative comments, however on social media where posts are easily shared and highly visible, it’s important that you respond. Unaddressed posts can easily damage your brand reputation. So whether you opt to address the post on that particular channel or direct them to get in touch via a dedicated email address or helpline number, the key is to maintain that two-way conversation with customers.

The important thing is to show that you are engaged with your customers, welcome their feedback and are willing to help address any issues that may occur. If you’re not responding to negative comments, customers will feel that they’re being ignored and this can only further fuel any negativity towards the brand.

Don’t be afraid to be creative with your responses either – it can be a good opportunity to go the extra mile for customers and gain some positive PR coverage.

Timing is everything

We’re living in a time where convenience is a given and we’ve grown to expect things to happen quickly. The same applies to customer service on social media. That’s not to say that you need to have someone available 24/7 – many brands will have dedicated customer service hours – but aim to respond to any queries as quickly as possible.

One report found that 60% of customers who complain in social expect a response within one hour and 63% of consumers are satisfied with response time. This provides a big opportunity for businesses to stand out from their competitors.

Social saves you money

It could be time to do away with call centres altogether, as it turns out that solving customer issues via social media costs a sixth of the costs of call centre interaction. Moreover, engaging and responding to customers via social leads to an increase in spending between 20 and 40% more.

Don’t lose your personality

Just because you’re focused on providing great customer service, doesn’t mean you should lose your unique brand personality. You can even have a bit of fun on social, as long as it’s appropriate to the brand. Company social media channels should have a human voice especially when serving as a customer service tool. Here’s some great examples of brands doing just that.

Using social media as a customer service tool for your restaurant might still be uncharted territory for you but don’t be afraid to take that step. As long as you make a plan before you set off on this new adventure and follow the tips above, you’ll wonder why you weren’t using social media earlier!

If this is your first foray into using social media as part of your restaurant marketing strategy you might found our Top 10 Facebook Marketing tips and Guide for Restaurants Using Instagram useful.

Have you got any hints and tips for using social media as a customer service tool? Let us know and we’ll feature them in a future blog post.