Customer service is at the heart of any business, of any scale. The logic is simple: if you want to keep your customers loyal to your company, you should look after their needs, listen to their feedback, find a solution to their complaints, and add some extra value to the products and services you are selling.
Large corporations have an entire department dedicated only to customer service. For small- and medium-sized businesses, this type of approach is not feasible – they have to rely on a few people performing a wide range of tasks from customer acquisition to marketing. Thankfully, you can always rely on the social media to perform the role of customer service platform and help you understand what your clients want, how happy they are with your business and what you can do to improve your relationship with them.
Here are a few and simple creative ways to use your social media accounts as customer service platforms:
1. Encourage and Respond to Feedback
The simplest way of knowing what your customers think of your business is to ask them. What, just like that? Yes, just like that. You would be surprised how many people are willing to share their experience doing business with a shop or an online business. A simple post such as “Rate your latest interaction with our business/visit on our website” can bring you a lot of answers from people.
Of course, not all of these will be glowing and full of praise. There will be some criticism among the answers. And you should deal with them. If there is anything you can do to solve your unhappy customers’ problem or change their negative experience doing business with you, you should reply and publicly come up with the answer. Failure to acknowledge the need for feedback to such comments will, little by little, discourage people from giving you feedback. Why should they bother, when nobody does anything about it?
2. Be Careful about Public Solutions to Complaints
Some messages from your followers are more than just negative reviews of your business: they are in the form of a serious complaint, or in less than civil terms. No doubt, the internet being a free forum with little to no gatekeepers, it may be a malicious attempt to ruin your company’s reputation by a competitor.
Whatever the case – actual complaint, or fake negative review – do not launch into a public feud against the person posting it. Ask for further details in a private message, attempt to obtain the person’s email and deal with their complaint appropriately, but never on your public timeline. It is always in bad taste to have public fights on the social media, even between private persons. As a business, such behaviour is inexcusable.
3. Approach Your Clients for Suggestions Regarding New Products
The best way of developing new and successful products is to create them as a solution to an actual need. But how can you know what your customers want? From the social media, of course! Polls are a great way to probe into people’s wishes, likes and dislikes. Many companies propose a list of potential products which they plan to add to their current offer. Depending on the poll results, the company decides which product will be launched.
Extra tip: always leave people the option to add a suggestion to your poll. You will be surprised how many great ideas for future products or services you will obtain for free in this way!
4. Time Is Everything
With so many mobile devices where you can get instant notifications of private messages or public comments on your social media accounts, not answering them quickly is not an option. People will not wait around for days to receive an answer to a problem (such as which one of your products you would recommend for a specific use). They will move on to your competitors, and you will lose a potential sale and a potential satisfied client.
In these simple ways, you can develop a strong relationship with your customers, offer value for their money and loyalty, and provide them with a public forum where they can voice their opinions, questions and even complaints with the certainty that they will receive an answer to them. After all, this is what great customer service is all about.