We tend to be a little spoiled these days. We’re so used to technology and getting information and resources in real-time, that we’ve come to expect immediacy. This rings true for getting news, getting answers, and getting help.
When people have a problem with a brand in today’s digital world, they don’t want to call a customer support line, talk to an automated message, and sit on hold for an hour. And why should they? That’s inconvenient for the customer, and as we proved last week, the customer matters most.
So when they turn to social media to air their frustrations and ask questions, you want to be their to manage the situation. Left ignored, it may just get worse.
But if you’re going to do social customer service, you want to do it well. Otherwise, it may have the opposite of the intended effect. So if you’re using Twitter as a customer service channel, follow these 3 tips:
1. State your online hours
Of course, the ideal situation would be to monitor your social media accounts 24/7. But for smaller companies with only one or two people handling their social accounts, it’s not realistic. In those cases, customers should understand that they won’t receive an immediate response to their 2 a.m. tweet.
However, it’s important to communicate when customers can expect a response. State your hours of operation in your bio. If your office is going to be closed or the account will be offline for another reason, send out a tweet saying when you will be unavailable and when you will return.
2. Take it private
As soon as you can, try to take the customer conversation private. Whether this means following them so you can direct message, getting their email, or using a support forum or chat on your website. Taking the conversation private may make the customer open up more. In public, they may not be willing to share as much information, and you may need to get account details from them that should remain confidential.
3. Avoid canned responses
One of the reasons turn to social media rather than your support telephone line is so that they can communicate with an actual person. If you’re copying and pasting a canned response to them, this is as personal as a robot phone message. Don’t do it. It defeats the point of social customer service.
It’s okay to say roughly the same thing to more than one person. Most queries will require a similar response or ask for similar information. But don’t use the same message every time. Use the customer’s name, switch up your wording, and do what you can to make it clear that the customer is communicating with a real, live person who cares.
What are your expectations when you reach out to a brand on Twitter? Share in the comments below.