Social media has become an integral part of any business. With 65% of adults on a social networking site, the channel is more important now than ever before. Within seconds, a business can spread the word about a new product or launch a marketing campaign to the world.
However, social media has also given your consumers a very loud voice.
All businesses should embrace social media support as a way to build new relationships with customers. Providing access to immediate updates for a product or brand can be crucial to a company’s growth since they can use this new voice to become a trusted company within their community.
Why is it important to respond to customers on social media platforms?
Customers want to be heard, and on social media they expect immediate responses.
One study found that “among those respondents who have ever attempted to contact a brand, product, or company through social media for customer support, 57% expect the same response time at night and on weekends as during normal business hours.”
Another similar study broke down expected response times from customers who report issues to social media. Over half of the people interviewed expected the response time to be a few minutes to a few hours.
Although if you work for a small business, you won’t be able to respond 24/7, any response will be better than no response. You will be able to show that you care about the customers and that their voice will be heard.
What language should you use when talking to a customer?
Be as friendly as possible.
Welcoming the customer with a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ is always great start to the conversation. Introduce yourself if you wish (this way they will know you’re not just an automated response). Remember not only will the customer see your response, but there is a good chance their friends and family will as well.
Starbucks Frappuccino’s Facebook page does a wonderful job of engaging with many of the customers (happy or mad) about their experience and questions.
Once customers feel comfortable they will start leaving complements or suggestions instead of negative comments or complaints. Research shows that adults under 44 years old are more likely to complain or compliment a brand on social media than through email.
How social media is helping to encourage better customer service.
In the coming weeks Facebook will be rolling out the option for businesses to message users. This will make it a much better experience for both the page’s admin and the customer. Before, businesses would have to comment on a post which will generally suggest messaging the company with more information. Now the conversation can be made private on the business’s behalf. Pages will also be able to save responses to common questions and easily access them for future use and for a faster response time.
Facebook has also come out with the responsive pages badge for businesses on Facebook. If a page has a median response time of less than 5 minutes, they will receive a “Very responsive to messages” badge on their Facebook profiles.
Twitter has also improved social media customer support by dropping the 140-character limit from Direct Messages. This will make interacting with those customers much easier with less back and forth messaging.
Keep the customer’s best interests in mind.
Be as open and honest with the customer as possible. Make sure not to tip toe around a question or deny that an issue exists. If the customer knows the truth then they may be more understanding. A good example of this is when Instagram went down a few weeks ago they made sure to post the outage to their Facebook Page immediately. The response from some customers was very surprising. They were pleased to receive information about the issue instead of being aggravated if they didn’t know what was going on.
Use active listening as a tool when communicating with the customer to ensure that you are answering the entirety of their question, and have understood their request. Many customers will continue communication after the first response. It is important to continue working with them until they feel they have been fully helped.
Overall remember you are representing a business and you may be the only person that connects with that customer. You may use tools such as Survey Gizmo to send out surveys to customers after they have been helped. This will provide helpful feedback on how to improve on future responses.
More questions about how to fully support your customers on social? Ask them in the comments!
About the Author: Halsey is a Product Support Specialist for Webs and Pagemodo. When she’s not socially listening, Halsey loves going to Zumba, hanging out with family, and playing with her dog.