Complain, complain, complain. And be sure to do it online, in public. By now, most of us know that one of the fastest ways to get customer service is to post something negative on social media. Start a rant and watch businesses – especially bigger and more vigilant ones – go wild.
Good reputation and social media managers as well as customer service reps jump on a problem like this in real time, offering assistance, solutions, contact information and sometimes, even wit. Customers can often be talked into stepping away from the keyboard – where it’s easier to hijack the podium – and towards email or phone to resolve the problem more privately. Or the issue can be resolved publicly, making customer service a daytime drama not to be missed. But customer service via social media is more than putting out fires. It’s about helping out. Want to provide stellar service? Start thinking about these strategies in a different light.
Content: Not just for marketing – When you provide quality content through Facebook posts, tweeted links, blogs or LinkedIn articles, you’re offering some nice freebies, assuming you do it correctly. Advertising shouldn’t be the main focus, unless you’re buying an ad or promoting a post. And even then, the content should offer something interesting or educational that shows you care about the customer experience. Not to be woo-woo, but this kind of service seeps into customers’ psyches. Sure, there are multitudes of marketing benefits, but as a customer service tool, content is its own customer service rep. As customer service expert Shep Hyken says, “Don’t just react to social comments from customers. Put out your own valuable posts. Not promotional posts, but good information with value to your customer community.”
Comments: Not just for chit-chat – While the tone of your comments in social media might be chatty, that doesn’t mean the content should be useless prattle. Go ahead and kibitz. But remember the words you use to engage with customers is a service that can make them feel you care enough to be human and helpful. Offer advice, empathy and professional opinions and see how fast your customers gravitate towards your business and not your competitors’. Do it in a fun way and get free brand ambassadors as a bonus. Social support expert Len Markiden says, “Building better relationships with your customers through social support can add up to huge wins when it comes to increasing customer lifetime value.”
Groups: Not just for gathering – You can establish a group on social media as part of your customer service plan. Many Facebook groups are designed to address specific topics related to products or services. This is where customers get to meet, ask questions and share points of view with other customers. Groups like these make it easier to find the kind of content and information that go a step above what you might provide on a regular business page. The same kind of group can be established on LinkedIn, which is helpful especially if your business is B2B. It’s kind of like the older-fashioned support forums, but social media style.
Once you start looking at social media as customer service, you’ll also start to see other aspects of your marketing differently. Before you know it, you’ll be using tried and true strategies in creative ways, finding solutions that your competitors might not have considered. Go ahead and start thinking outside the comment box. Then watch your customer base grow – and stay.
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