Take advantage of social media to enhance your business

Authored by Kayla Brehm
Published on October 22, 2014

Guest blog by Shep Hyken: 

The technology available in today’s world has added new tools and opportunities to the customer service arena, and one of the most important of these is social media. Not only can you reach customers quickly with company news and value-added content, you can also respond to unhappy customers and show them – and others – that you are willing to do what is necessary to fix problems and support your customers.

When a customer complains on a social media channel such as Twitter or Facebook, the customer and others who have seen the negative review are waiting to see if your company will respond. Your company – which, first of all, must always be monitoring social media channels – can use the complaint as an opportunity and turn a possible PR nightmare into a display of your dedicated customer service. There are a few simple steps that you must follow to make that happen.

  • First and foremost, if you receive a negative comment, act quickly. Response time is one of the keys to a successful resolution. Many customers feel that a same-day response is acceptable. Some companies aim to respond within one hour. But consider this – I recently worked with 1-800-Flowers and their goal is to respond within five minutes. Amazing.
  • Don’t post a canned answer; the customer will appreciate a customized response. Apologize – this will help to defuse the situation if the customer is angry or upset – and let the customer know you are there to help. Keep the tone conversational as you are trying to start a conversation, not engage in an argument.
  • After you have publicly started the conversation, ask the customer to send you his or her contact information in a direct message so you can continue the conversation in private on the same social channel if possible. Otherwise over the phone or by e-mail is acceptable.
  • Once the problem is resolved, the customer will ideally return to the same social channel and broadcast a complimentary statement that turns into positive PR. If necessary, publicize the results there yourself. Thank them for bringing the problem to your attention and for the opportunity to fix it. Show that there was a positive resolution.

Remember, social media is not a weapon to be feared, but a powerful tool that can open the lines of communication and create opportunities to connect with your customers – and the world.

And, it is a tool with many uses. As I mentioned earlier, social media can be used to connect with customers in many ways. If you limit your social media presence to problem resolution alone, you are missing out on opportunities to build stronger customer service relationships. Keep happy customers happy by using social media to add value to your brand.

Some ways you might do this could be announcing a special promotion, giveaway, etc., on your Facebook page for your followers (this is also a good way to gain new followers!), Tweeting a link to a video on your YouTube channel in which you demonstrate a new way to use your product, or pinning items on Pinterest boards to share creative ideas with customers and potential customers.

The world is always changing, moving forward. Don’t get left behind. If you want to offer the best customer service experience possible, you have to reach your customers where they are – and they are on social media. Embrace it, use it to your advantage, and have fun with it!

Shep Hyken is a customer experience expert and the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. He is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author and has been inducted into the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame for lifetime achievement in the speaking profession. Shep works with companies and organizations who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. For more articles on customer service and business go to

Copyright © MMXIV Shep Hyken – Used with permission.

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