Post by Megan Totka
Your business probably already has a social media presence. Surely you’re using social media for marketing and branding purposes. Did you know that you can leverage social media to improve customer satisfaction and increase repeat business? If you’re smart, you’re always looking for the best ways to keep your customers happy. Make sure your social media channels are doing just that.
Be Part of Their Community
In 2016, calling a business (only -gasp- during business hours) or sending an email is akin to sending feedback via carrier pigeon. For most businesses, it’s true that your customers spend significant time on social media interacting with brands. Why expect them to sit on hold or wait days for an email reply when they can reach out to you via social media? You shouldn’t.
Tweeting your business or sending you a Facebook message is quicker and easier. Be sure to follow basic social media etiquette to help you avoid any embarrassing blunders. Actively engage in the community where your customers are spending their time.
Being an active part of any social media community gives you the ability to respond immediately, which is what most customers expect. Your availability via social media will vary depending on the size of your business, but generally the faster your response, the better. If you’re big enough to hire someone to manage your social media accounts, do it. You can also automate responses on some social media channels. Automation is recommended highly by some, but if you choose to use it, do so sparingly. No one likes interaction with a bot. An automatic response frequently comes off as cold and dismissive. It reflects even more poorly if you never follow up with a real human response.
Respond to Everyone
Along with responding to direct messages or private messages, you should be monitoring all your social media channels for mentions. Posts that mention or tag you directly and those using a hashtag with your business name or any marketing hashtags you’ve created. If one of your customers geotags an image from your store and captions it “Look at this cute thing I bought! #yourshop,” you should respond with a comment saying something nice, such as “Thanks for coming into the shop today. We hope to see you again soon!”
It really doesn’t matter whether the person is addressing their post to your business, nor whether the mention is positive or negative, always respond.
Go Above and Beyond — Once in a While
It’s pretty easy to play fun games or run contests on social media. Your customers enjoy it. It’s good for business. But to punch up your customer service, you have to take it beyond fun marketing ploys. Consider surprising a random customer who posts about you with free product or with a very personalized response, such as Samsung’s unicycle-riding kangaroo. Of course, you can’t do that all time. It’s important to back up the occasional act of kindness with consistently stellar customer service.
Don’t Lash Out at Critics
It’s just not possible to please every person, but if you deal with the situation properly a customer can be really angry about an issue and ultimately walk away happy. It is too easy to rattle off a quick response to someone when you’re feeling defensive. No matter what, do not do this. If you need to take a walk, do it. Calm down. Ask someone else for perspective. If it’s the place for a long form response, type up some rough drafts in a document first. Don’t just blow off responding to an angry customer either. Respond soon, calmly, and focus your response on addressing their concerns. Even if you can’t please them, others will see how you respond to public criticism. Their impressions can affect your business in a big way.
Responding to each customer directly is great, but keeping track of trends in their feedback is just as important. If you see a trend in complaints about one aspect of your business, fix the problem. The sooner, the better. Make sure you share those changes with your customers when you make them. “You told us you hate Product XYZ, so we got rid of it. Let us introduce you to Product ABC, which does all the things you asked for!” In this way, your customers can see that you’re not just placating them with coupons on social media, but that you truly value their feedback and business.
Social media is free. Almost all your customers are already there. By approaching social media armed with these tips, some kindness, and smarts, you can improve customer service and customer satisfaction.