Recently, while maintaining a client’s Facebook Page, I noticed several complaints from different people about different things. This particular client is an independent newspaper that covers quite a wide area. They have a decent sized newsroom, but unfortunately, you can only cover so much. However, the complaints were about lack of coverage on certain events.
A couple of years ago, people might call in and complain, or send angry letters to the editor. People still do these things, but now they can get in touch with their newspaper through the paper’s Facebook Page; it’s arguably a lot faster to log in to your Facebook account than it is to look up the paper’s number or address. A couple of years ago, people may not have expected a response from a company on Facebook. There were less companies on social networking sites than there are now, and it wasn’t the norm. Now, however, people more than expect a response. They may drop you completely if you ignore them. (Personally, I wouldn’t remain a follower of a company’s Twitter account nor would I continue to Like a company’s Facebook Page if they continuously ignored my questions and concerns. I also wouldn’t stick around if the company failed to even acknowledge its customers at all.)
The game has completely changed, making your social networking profiles your front line in customer service. With just a few clicks, a couple of apologies, and a link to the paper’s contact information, I was able to help my client’s customers get in touch with the newsroom, and an event that wouldn’t normally have been covered did get covered. Several people who normally just lurk the page Liked and commented on their approval of this event being covered when the original poster of the complaint commented again to say thank you.
And that’s it. You don’t have to spend hours on your social networking profiles. Within a few minutes, you can show your customers your appreciation, and help them get what they want from you. It’s so easy, it’s inexcusable not to utilize these tools. Here are a few tips that will make you and your company social media rock stars when it comes to customer service:
- Log in at least once a day. Spend a few minutes reading any posts and replies from your customers, and respond to as many as possible. Sometimes, you might have to kind of filter through; you may not be able to reply to every comment, but you should at least answer any questions.
- Have a contact page on your website that you can quickly refer customers to. This can apply especially to Twitter, where you might not have enough characters to point a customer to your email address or phone number, but it also cuts down on time. Imagine how much time you’d save when you’re just copying and pasting a contact link rather than pointing them to the proper method of contact. (Do they need a phone number? Email address? Mailing address? Your contact page should have everything all in one place, and should even have a quick and handy contact form so that your customers don’t have to leave your site.)
- Thank your customer for expressing their concerns, and apologize when necessary. We do this when engaging with someone face to face, but sometimes digital interaction can seem a lot less personal. By remembering to use your manners and make the customer feel special, you can break down that seemingly impersonal barrier.
- Follow up. When my client’s customer posted on the paper’s Facebook Wall thanking the paper for their coverage, I followed up by thanking him for his support of the paper. When you make it abundantly clear that it’s all about your customer rather than it being about your business, you make them feel like your brand truly does care. In this day and age, it’s very important for companies to go back to their roots and show appreciation of their customers, and social media makes it easier than ever.
How has social media improved your company’s customer service? Share your success stories in the comments below!
Elizabeth K. Barone is a web designer, social media marketing consultant, and is addicted to Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
Hungry for more social media tips? Join OSC when we present SOCIAL MEDIA: THE NITTY GRITTY on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 at 8am at the Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce (83 Bank St., Waterbury, CT). To attend, contact the Chamber at 203-757-0701, or visit http://waterburychamber.com.