Social media was initially created with the intention to provide a platform for individuals to freely and conveniently share information and ideas with each other, regardless of time and distance. As platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ gained popularity, businesses started recognizing the monetary potential of these platforms.
Whether you have set up avenues for your business’s customer service on social media or not, eventually it will become a space for customers to complain about or praise your business. Social media has eliminated the restrictions of complaints departments. If your customers are unhappy, they will show it publicly, thus it is best to be prepared!
Before you get anxious about the thought of dealing with customer service issues or complaints, consider the opportunity presented by these challenging situations. If dealt with speedily and correctly, you may stand to impress your customer and earn his/ her loyalty far beyond what it currently stands on.
The steps for dealing with customer service complaints are:
1. Acknowledging your fault (Remember, the customer is always right!)
2. Apologizing sincerely
3. Providing a solution or answer
4. Following up on your promise
Consumers expect real answers and real solutions to their problems. Even if you can’t solve the issue on the spot, you should respond quickly and provide a reasonable message to stall them such as “We are looking into your query as a matter of importance and will respond to your query as soon as possible. We kindly ask for your patience”.
If you don’t have someone available your social media channels daily, you can implement software that synchronizes your customer service department with platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. These tools allow you to manage private messages and posts, and keep track of requests and customer service questions without having to log into Facebook directly. Some great software options include Zendesk, Freshdesk, Salesforce, Desk, and HappyFox.
A word of advice, when you initially take over the social accounts of your clients, it is important to establish who will be handling customer service queries that arise from the social platforms so that when a query or disaster pops up, it is handled correctly.
Knowing who will be handling what and who to divert queries to is crucial. You don’t want to be in the situation where you are forced to deal with a customer complaint without the client’s permission or stuck without the correct support from the client’s side.
Ignoring customer complaints is not an option. It’s true that some unfortunate and unhappy individuals may choose to use your business’s Facebook page as a stage for ranting, but you have to listen to them. Bill Gates once said that “Your most unhappy customers are you greatest source of learning” – this is absolutely true.
Due to the convenience of social media, consumers may complain at any time, even long after they have visited the physical place. Below is an example of how customers can hurt your reputation on Facebook.
The following is an example of an effectively-handled situation on Twitter. The string of messages suggests that the matter was resolved within a day.
It is important to be proactive in delivering news to your consumers and fans. If you know that a number of product defects have come through quality control, publish a post announcing that you are aware of the issue, apologise and state that the matter is being addressed.
Keep customers updated on the progress of customer service issues and any other problems that may affect your customer base.
Dazzle your consumers and be generous where you can. Even if you can’t offer much more than a solution, if you handle it quickly and in a sincere way, you may convert the situation to sale.
If you feel uncomfortable handling customer service in-house, seek agencies who offer the service.
It’s important to remember that consumer research has proven that customers are more likely to share poor interactions than good ones, and also at a higher frequency.
Customer service, whether online or offline, is crucial to a brand’s success. Your first line of contact with consumers may very well be social media, so it’s important to monitor those channels daily, even 24/7 if you are able to do so.
Keeping your fans informed and letting them know that you’ve heard their requests, praise and complaints, shows them that you care about their input, and will bring you one step closer toward building an army of loyal super-fans.