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Social customer service: the need for speed

Social customer service: the need for speed

Having a social media presence is not just a one-way street.

Social media channels offer an invaluable way to engage with your customers and provide customer service. However, customer care on social media is a different animal than its offline counterpart.

Start managing your social customer service better with these three points:

Prompt action is paramount
Online customers want swift resolutions and can choose to be vocal about it either on your channel or their page. Your response time to a customer’s query or complaint can make or break your brand.

The benchmark for social customer service response is within an hour, 24/7.

While it is possible to set auto-responses for any queries or complaints coming in after work hours, it does not mean that you can stop monitoring your social media channels.

Your social customer service team must continue to monitor interactions online to flag any major issues that may crop up any time of the day. Issues that come in should be judged on a case-by-case basis. If a query justifies an urgent response, it’s best to act now than to wait until office hours to deal with it.

Customer service teams are human too
Fast action should also go hand in hand with an apt response. In many cases, customer service teams have templates of responses to use for various situations. However, these templates should mainly be a guideline or reference.

When customers reach out for help online, they want to be met with another human to resolve their issues. The social platform or channel used as point of contact is secondary.

Customer service teams must know how to think on their feet, learn to empathise with customers, and provide an appropriate and useful response to resolve matters.

Resolution of issues within the first contact is always ideal. However, saying that you will have to get back later or find out the answer from another department makes the interaction genuine and human too. Just remember to follow up!
Sometimes, a little fun doesn’t hurt either.

Good customer service as a competitive edge
On social media, your interaction with your followers can be public. If a crisis arises, followers – even non-customers and your competition – are closely watching how you will manage the situation.

Competitors can also take advantage of the situation if you fail to respond well during a crisis.

Not all issues on social media are on the magnitude of David Dao and United Airlines. Word travels at lightning speed on social media so it’s always better to get a handle on any brewing issues before it spreads.

Though your customer service team serves and represents your brand, they must also take a neutral stance when handling complaints. Finger-pointing and going on the defensive on behalf of the brand, regardless who’s really at fault, will only be seen as a retaliation. Accountability is key.

The team must be objective in listening and responding to issues, and showing genuine care. The gesture or effort may be small, but it matters to customers in a big way and in the long run. Ultimately, this will inspire customer loyalty and strengthen brand awareness far better than any form of advertising.

Tags: Community Management, Crisis Management, Social Media

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