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Customer support via Social Media

Mar 02nd, 2015

Social media can be a blessing or a curse, providing instant access to customers and a way to reach them on their own terms but also offering them a platform to complain. Getting social media interaction right is not as easy as it appears at first glance – and many companies have learned that the hard way. So what represents best practice in terms of social media customer interaction?

Social media is a good way for companies to show their reactivity and how important their customers are to them. They need to respond rapidly and in a friendly way. It is not enough to advise customers to call the service hotline. This doesn’t show reactivity and could even damage the company’s image, as customers expect a quick resolution to their problem. Using social media should therefore be part of a global strategy on customer service.

A social media complaint might be the right way forward for the customer because responsible and responsive companies are likely to see the tweet, react to it and solve the problem. The satisfied consumer may then comment positively about the company’s rapid response. And so, both parties benefit from the interaction process. Customers contact a company via social media because they want a clear, brief and direct answer immediately. Companies need to provide a wide range of ways for customers to contact them and to provide answers in a timely manner whatever the channel. Customers feel valued and companies improve their brand image and increase customer satisfaction rates. A win-win for everyone.

For the right use of social media channels it’s necessary to train your staff as they require different skills as if they deal with complaints face to face. Don’t forget to treat social media channel with the respect it deserves.

  • Understand your customers: their age, their profile, what device they typically use and what method of communication they leverage when interacting with you.
  • Recognize that social media is not right for every customer or for every dialogue or scenario. “Often, conversations will be initiated through social media but resolved through a more traditional channel like email,” he said. “As such, the ability to integrate the channels and provide an omni-channel customer experience is crucial in giving the customer what they want – in the fastest and most effort-free way possible.”
  • There is an expectation of immediate response from customers. Businesses therefore need to put in place well-trained or highly skilled staff to deliver the quickest possible response.
  • Organizations who get it right trust and empower their customers to become part of an extended community that acts to support itself. This helps to improve customer service and reduce costs by leveraging the power of social media. Rewarding super users and customers who share knowledge, information or experiences that help the broader community is a good way of achieving this.

Social media, like any other customer interaction channel, requires the right skills and the right strategy to ensure that it is best utilized and becomes an asset instead of a potential liability.