For many businesses, social media is no longer an optional customer service tool. As more companies jump on the Twitter and Facebook service bandwagon, customers come to expect these channels to provide fast, informal answers to their questions. If your agents have been ignoring your social profiles, it might be time to find ways to get back in the game.
Delete Extraneous Accounts
For most businesses, there's no need to have multiple social media accounts dedicated to customer service. In fact, dormant accounts can actually harm your reputation — a lack of posts creates the impression of poor response times or a lack of monitoring. A more effective option is to select a single channel on which to focus your energy, and delete all other accounts. This method eliminates customer confusion and enables your service staff to focus their energy in a single location.
The best social media profile is useless if customers don't know it exists. Once you have a channel set up and service personnel in place, start advertising. Opt for broad-spectrum coverage: add a link to the profile from your general-purpose company Facebook page, Twitter profile and Instagram page. Place an announcement on your home page, and include the link in your business' email signature. The same goes for business cards, online order confirmations, receipts and other marketing materials. This strategy alerts customers to the existence of a dedicated service channel and allows easy navigation from any point of contact.
Embrace Public Conversations
When a conversation goes south on your service department's social media page, it can be tempting to switch to a more private mode of communication. Although they might be uncomfortable to read, don't delete complaints or angry rants. Instead, train your agents to address these posts professionally. Teach them how to de-escalate the discussion and provide a solution as quickly as possible. Since this activity is visible to other users, it serves as powerful proof of your caring and dedication to service.
A great service department does more than respond to current problems. It also analyzes customer behavior on social media to anticipate and solve small concerns before they blow up into highly public crises. Alert agents to potential problems by using sentiment analysis tools. Platforms such as Meltwater and HootSuite enable you to monitor the tone of the conversation surrounding your brand, so it's easier to see when customer opinions go south. Consider working in tandem with your marketing department to use analytics to create a better proactive and responsive strategy.
Building a powerful social media presence for your service department is a process that requires time, resources and constant activity. Done correctly, however, it can increase self-service and reduce the email and phone load on individual agents.
Image courtesy of jimbophoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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