You hear all the time from marketers and various promoters that using social media as a customer service tool is beneficial. They throw down a few examples, some ideas on how to use social media to your advantage and that’s pretty much it.
This time we’re going to discuss why everyone should be adopting a customer service strategy with social media and how it will actually generate a positive reputation.
Building Success Stories and Positive Experiences
Many companies tend to overlook this idea, but the first thing some customers do is share their experience with others. A customer that chooses not to share a good experience can cause the same damage as a customer sharing a particularly bad one. That’s why you want to go over the top when you can and surprise them enough so that they feel the need to share. In the end it’s all just another form of press, and positive press is always necessary in the world of business.
Companies that reach out to their customers via social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook are not only building success stories, but they are also proving to everyone else in the world that they can offer their customers positive experiences.
The Customer is Always Right – Solve Their Problem As Best as You Can
Sometimes things just don’t go according to plan. The customer may not get exactly what they want or complications may arise during a transaction. This can cause several issues, the biggest of which is that the customer ultimately ends up not being happy. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that something will happen leading to some of your customers having a bad experience. It’s not the experience itself that can ruin your reputation, but instead how you handle it.
After an issue with some lost luggage, Hassan Syed paid to promote a personal tweet which said, “don’t fly British Airways [because] their customer service is horrendous.” The company failed to take notice of the tweet for a very long eight hours before offering support. They apologized for the delay and told Syed to private message with the proper reference numbers. It was too little too late. Naturally Syed did not respond in kind.
“How does a billion dollar corp only have 9-5 social media support for a business that operates 24/7? DM me yourselves.”
If you do your best to remedy the issue and improve a customer’s bad situation you will have earned their trust, and if the proof of such can be seen publically via social media then that trust will spread. It means that next time the customer needs one of your goods or services, they will return to you instead of a competitor because they know you will take care of them. In the case of British Airways, they lost an opportunity to make things right and in turn they probably lost more than just one loyal customer.
Offer Exclusive Support
Surgimedics is a company that manufactures unique surgical equipment such as a medical smoke evacuator. How they use social media is a bit different, because their audience is very tight – you could say it’s a small niche. There is one thing that other businesses can take away, however.
Instead of using their Facebook profile to solely promote their products, they offer exclusive deals, tips, facts and even general industry information. What does that mean? It means that even people who are not interested in purchasing the company’s products will likely still follow their social media feeds. Why? It’s because Surgimedics is regularly giving something back to their followers by offering exclusive support and information. This is beneficial for the company even when it comes to customers who do not purchase their products, because their followers are more likely to share and discuss related topics with others – this in turn generates exposure for the company and brand.
Timely Customer Service is Necessary – The Airlines Follow This Rule to a Tee
Recently, United hit the ball out of the park by using some of the same strategies discussed above. “Stuck on the plane in Pittsburgh. Let’s get it together @united. Let’s fix the planes before u load them with people! We need flaps to fly.” Marybeth Cadotte wrote on Twitter, after experiencing a small delay in her travel plans.
United replied with an apology, and reached out to offer support. “We hope to have you on your way soon.”
Sure enough, Marybeth reported that a mechanic had arrived and she was hopeful. “Fingers crossed I make my connection in Denver!”
Sometime later it looked like all was well, as Marybeth even praised the United social team for all they had done. “Shout out to cust service twitter @united! Still on my crazy journey but you pulled thru for me!”
This is just one of many great examples. Sadly, there’s no way to guarantee everyone can be appeased when something goes wrong. The point is that United gave it a try. They reached out to Marybeth and did what they could to make her experience better.
Social media platforms can be used as a one-to-one resolution platform. That is, for customers, social media works just like picking up the phone and calling a support hotline but in some cases with much faster results.
Every time a company helps one of their customers they really are building a success story. Over time, a social media account will begin to collect these stories as they remain visible to a greater audience. It serves to create a humbling reputation of your business and brand, one that will garner many more customers in the future.
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