What you need to know about customer service and social media management

Digital360 on 21 August 2017

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are proving to be more accurate and faster at delivering customer service than digital channels such as email. Even Google has developed a new smart messaging app called Allo, to keep up with the increasingly digital aspect of customer service.

But this level of access to businesses has also amplified the effects of upset customers. This is where good social media management comes into play.

Complaints and negative reviews are just as, if not more, influential than positive comments. Potential customers are more easily scared away by bad reviews then encouraged by positive ones. This is where knowing how to deal with angry customers online becomes incredibly important for SMEs.

From start to finish, your customer should feel that their complaint has been treated with the utmost professionalism and importance. They must feel that their concern is your priority. Listed below are five tips to assist business owners and managers in their social media marketing efforts online.

1. Respond to complaints

Online or off, any business knows that you should always respond to a customer complaint in a timely manner. No matter how trivial, it’s important that your customers feel that they are being treated with respect. So make it a habit to check your ratings and reviews across all platforms at least once a week, if not more – from Google to Facebook and other industry rating sites.

What's more, 71 per cent of consumers who experience positive social customer care are likely to recommend your brand to others. This is in comparison to just 19 per cent of customers who do not get a response. An immediate response will demonstrate to your customer their issue has come to your attention, and that something (if need be) is being done about it.

2. Respond to complaints in writing

You should always respond to complaints made on social media to ensure the public knows that you take complaints seriously. It will depend on the nature of the complaint, but here is an initial response example:

Hi [customer name]. We're sorry to hear about your experience. We take our customer service very seriously and would like to get in touch to discuss this issue further. We've just messaged you privately and hope you'll get back to us.

This response ensures openness and transparency between the complainee, the public, and your business. In every interaction online, you want to remain open to a resolution while remaining prescriptive and in control of the dialogue.

This response also gives the customer the opportunity to contact you privately. It's best to avoid public back-and-fourths. Instead, resolve the matter in a private message, email or phone conversation.

3. Established an in-house complaints procedure

An estimated 67 per cent of consumers are seeking dispute resolution through social media. Your secret weapon to good social media management, is developing clear and consistent in-house complaints procedures.

By establishing systems that help to mitigate customer complaints, your business will be better positioned to avoid them altogether. Of course, you can’t please everyone. But with a strong social media management strategy in place, there should be fewer incidents that you and your staff cannot handle.

4. Train your staff

Staff training is at the centre of good customer relations. If your staff know how to deal with everything from a customer complaint to a resounding accolade, your customers will feel they are in good hands. You never know, they might even apologise for jumping to conclusions or being too quick to criticise.

Again, it's all about getting your in-house procedures to the point where there can be no situation where the customer feels unhappy.

5. Contact a manager

A staff member should always notify their superior when a complaint has been made. In this way, management is aware of the issue and can support their staff member if necessary. This goes back to treating every complaint with the utmost professionalism and importance.

This can also help management discover the root of the issue. Taking complaints as feedback and an opportunity to build will improve your products and services – and avoid more customer complaints in the future!

The future of customer service with social media management

It's true that dealing with an angry customer online can be difficult. But with the right systems in place, and open communication, both you and your client can walk away with the issue resolved.

If you'd like to learn more about social media management for your business, give one of our digital specialists a call.