Building relationships with your customers requires more than the occasional “check-up” to see how they are doing. Beyond simply fixing your customers’ issues, businesses need to interact meaningfully and consistently with their customers. Building social capital – investing in the value of your network – helps your business grow into a sustainable business and opens the window of opportunity to build brand advocates.
When it comes to building a unified brand across all channels, providing superior customer service is crucial to deliver on an honest brand. While your social media team might already be up and running, any valuable tip comes in handy to optimize the workload, provide quicker and better solutions to your customers’ needs, and decrease stress in a rather hectic customer service environment. Showing off the ability to proactively manage people’s complaints and boosting creativity is a good way to build a distinctive brand.
How can businesses optimize social customer service?
Encourage and Respond to Feedback
Tailoring your product or service to your customers’ needs by proactively asking them for feedback is the best way to ensure your customers’ voice is being heard, in addition to making them feel special and developing trust. A simple way to encourage people to give their opinion is to create an “ideas forum” that allows your customers to express their opinions freely on several topics (such as R&D, customer relations, product use, etc.) and works completely independently and hassle-free. Providing them with the opportunity to contribute to the future development of your products is necessary to remaining sensitive to customers’ needs.
Whenever you are asking for feedback, take good note of it and make a clear distinction between suggestions and complaints. Once you have built this forum or started to proactively ask for feedback, set up a policy on how to deal with complaints to ensure you always act upon them. Make sure you moderate this closely. But more importantly, deal with negative feedback promptly and genuinely apologize for any bad experience.
For example, NMBS, the national Belgian railway company, proactively takes action when people make comments about dirty trains, filthy windows, etc. on Twitter and quickly caters for the needs of their customers. In this case, it’s all about passing on that valuable information to the right people and sharing it with the right department. Quickly dealing with these kind of issues is a great to show off your company’s competences and to display an aptitude for problem-solving behavior.
Make Your Online Support Center Your Biggest Asset
A lot of customers deal with the same questions over and over again. Most of the answers and solutions your customers are looking for have already been answered somewhere else, like, for example, in your support center, on a support page or FAQ page. Your support center is actually one of your company’s biggest assets when it comes to fixing people’s issues. To know, in advance, customers are being taken care of properly, address the most common questions and concerns, make them easy-to-browse and update them regularly.
A great way to showcase your excellent customer service is to use testimonials to leverage your reputation and share your own success stories. Think about which customers you can interview to show off your abilities. By establishing a good customer service reputation beforehand, people already assume you provide great service. While some questions or issues are more complex, it already means a great deal to be able to give customers an immediate answer or easy solution to a multitude of questions and concerns in your support center.
Provide Exceptional Experiences
Positive and negative experiences are the ones that stick best in our minds. It’s hard to make every experience a good one, but try your best to create memorable experiences that would make your customers want to talk about it with their friends.
The first thing that will differentiate yourself from competition is your tone. Be kind and polite, and top it off with something extra like a piece of advice that adds to the conversation. In some cases, it’s also appropriate to tell a joke or add some humor to the interaction.
However, there’s nothing worse than waiting for hours for an inaccurate, unfriendly response. Today’s consumers are extremely impatient and critical and demand quick, accurate replies. Sometimes, they can be rather careless for the tone of voice and only expect you to quickly acknowledge and resolve their issues. That’s why memorable experiences go hand in hand with great systems that support the social customer service process from beginning to resolution.
Social customer service is all about listening rather than talking. Measuring the success of your social customer service strategy allows you to quickly identify the areas that require improvements in order to swiftly adjust your strategy. Always have a pulse on every single aspect of your customer interactions. Complaints that remain unanswered only leave customers with frustrated feelings and end up resenting your business. In order to maintain ongoing relationships, listen carefully to your customers’ issues, acknowledge these problems and respond swiftly.