Sunday, June 30, 2013

Handle Complaints with Social Customer Service

Many small businesses are quickly realizing that social media can have a positive impact on their business. Businesses can engage with current customers, gain new customers, grow brand identity, and sell their products or services through word of mouth. But before jumping on the social media bandwagon, it's important to plan out your social media strategy.

A key component to social media is social customer service. It's no surprise, social media is all about being social. You need to interact and engage with customers to get any real benefit.

Social customer service is especially important when customer complaints arise. When communicating with followers, keep in mind that people love to complain about their in-store or online customer service on social media. It's hard to prevent it, but if an individual feels the need to do so, they will spread their complaint across all networks.

According to NewVoiceMedia:
31% of people post online following inadequate customer service.
- Women are nearly twice as likely than men to take out their frustration online.
- Individuals consider posting on Facebook to be the most effective way to resolve a problem.

There is also a relationship between entertainment and social media. Individuals that use social media are more likely to share information about entertainment (TV shows, Movies) rather than share information about their personal lives. This proves that what individuals experience, either in store or on TV, will affect how they behave online. A prime example is The Red Wedding episode of Game of Thrones. The episode surely sparked controversy as everyone's outrage was expressed through all mainstream social media. If a TV show can cause individuals to complain online, a customer's experience with a business can have the same reaction.

Small businesses have to accept that social media complaints can't be avoided. However, it can be dealt with. A social media strategy must contain social customer service components. Think of your social media manager or community manager playing the same role as an in-store customer service representative. If a customer posts their negative experiences with the brand or product on your social media account, don't delete it or ignore it as this can lead to more bad comments. Instead, be honest with your customer, apologize and/or offer an incentive. Customers want their issues to be addressed - so listen, acknowledge and respond.

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