Customer service is the new marketing. Social channels, including online review sites, amplify your good customer service and turn it into outstanding marketing. Ignoring social customer service has the opposite effect.
Customer service today is very different than even just 10 years ago. In the “old days”, customer service was reactive – waiting for the customers to come to you with feedback. Today, it’s listening and being proactive. Customers share what you need to know and they expect businesses to pay attention.
Serve Customers First
Think about it: when was the last time you were wowed by a business? Chances are it wasn’t because of what they sold you (which could have been the result). It was because they helped you prior to your purchase and/or their customer care during and after your purchase was remarkable.
A business culture that’s rooted in service to customers always has staying power.
Social Customer Service as a Channel
Today’s modern, hyper-connected buyer has many options with which to connect to your business and they can choose differently depending on where they are, literally and figuratively.
If you’re looking for a competitive advantage, social customer service is the answer.
71% of consumers who experience positive social customer care are likely to recommend the brand to others, compared with just 19% of customers who do not get a response (Sentiment)
Today’s tech-savvy consumers want their online questions to be addressed promptly; 42% expect a response within one hour. (Gigya)
- 33% of users even prefer to contact brands using social media rather than the telephone. (Nielsen)
- 83% of respondents in a recent survey said they liked—or even loved—when a company responded to them on social. (Convince and Convert)
Ah, but where to start. Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated…only well-planned. In fact, I’m going to keep it familiar and go old-school Star Trek.
7 Tips to Master Social Customer Service
1. Deliver a USS Enterprise Customer Experience
The Enterprise was the central Starship in the fleet and its experience and power were second to none. To “boldly go where no man has gone before” in your customer’s eyes, it takes top-notch adventures.
Your social customer service starship is built with first-class real-life customer experiences. There’s no way to fake it. There are no shortcuts.
Delivering consistently stellar customer experiences allow you to explore strange new worlds and seek out new life and new civilizations where you never imagined new customers existed: The planet called “Customer Referrals.”
2. Strategy from Enterprise Officers’ Strengths
- Captain Kirk – Commander. He was one of the most famous captains in the history of Starfleet. He never stopped exploring and learning. Don’t be afraid to get down in the trenches with customers to understand their needs and earn their trust and loyalty.
- Spock – First Officer. “Change is the essential process to all existence.” Today’s customers choose where they connect and they expect you to be there. Be ready and take a logical approach to any criticism. It’s a rare skill to stay calm and propose solutions in difficult, emotional situations.
- Bones (Dr. McCoy) – Chief Medical Officer. Approach social customer service with empathy and a passion for doing the right thing.
- Scotty – Chief Engineer and Head of Security. Scotty’s technical knowledge and skill allowed him to devise unconventional and effective last-minute solutions to dire problems. Don’t discount the value of monitoring tools and software help shorten the response time.
- Sulu – Helmsman. Maintain a steady course. Steer precisely and carry out your company’s customer service protocol throughout every channel, online or offline.
- Uhura – Chief Communications Officer. Communications are integral to the ship’s course and flow of information to the crew. A “bridge officer” in social customer service oversees your brand’s reputation and often engages customers to improve the overall customer experience.
3. Make Sure All Hands are On Deck
It’s not enough to just have a few key players focusing on your social customer service. Every employee needs to know what your process is and how to help a customer should things go awry.
Lack of communication in any customer service function can be deadly. When you add social media to the equation, it becomes clear very quickly when your process isn’t communicated well.
4. Captain’s Log
Keep track of your wins, not just your losses.
Take time to learn how things could’ve gone better.
The more knowledge you have, the more creative you can be. The more you’re able to do, the more solutions you have for problems at your disposal. You may never have to face down a reptilian alien on a desert planet, but sometimes it’s good to know you can!
5. No Cloaking Devices
Be as transparent as you can possibly be.
If you make a mistake, be humble and admit it. Digging your heels into the Romulan planet sand serves no one.
6. Don’t Invite Klingons to the Party
Respond quickly and skillfully. Resolve issues promptly or take them offline for further discussion. The current expected response time on social media is 60 minutes.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore messages.
87% of customer Facebook messages are ignored. Don’t turn your customers into warlike, humanoid alien Klingons. You’ve gone to the trouble of creating a channel for communication. Use it wisely.
7. Watch Out for Tribbles
You’ve probably seen or heard of this episode “The Trouble with Tribbles” but it’s fun to look at it again.
The Enterprise is transporting wheat to the space station. A space trader gives Uhura a purring ball of fluff known as a Tribble and it ends up in the wheat supply. McCoy soon learns that Tribbles are born pregnant and the more they eat – and they eat constantly – the more they multiply. Soon the Enterprise is overrun by Tribbles and the wheat supply is destroyed.
Don’t invite problems by failing to listen, respond and generally engage your customers via social media. If you’ve got a crisis on your hands, Tribbles will come out of nowhere to jump on the bandwagon. Mob mentality is rampant on social and it’s fueled by “Keyboard Courage” – the anonymity afforded people who have nothing better to do than to overrun your good reputation.
With your social customer service processes in place, you can face any challenge that comes your way. It will be no tribble at all to right the ship and travel at warp speed to profitable galaxies everywhere!