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Three Steps to Social Service Success


Authored by Michelle Nickolaisen
Published on March 18, 2015

There was a time--not that long ago--when companies considered social media service to be a nice add-on. Oftentimes, it would be handed to the same person who was handling social media marketing campaigns, or just be a tiny part of a customer service representatives’ job.

That’s no longer the case. With 56% of Americans having a profile on at least one social media site,  and 22% of Americans using social networking sites every day, if your brand isn’t on social and interacting with customers where they are, you’re losing money. So, what do you need to remember to pull off social service right?

Be speedy

Social media moves at a breakneck pace, and it’s important your responses do, too--because 42% of customers complaining on social media expect a response time of 60 minutes or less. Yikes. How can you keep up with and respond to company mentions? You’ve got several options:

- Set up IFTTT or Zapier to automatically ping you (or rather, your employees) with a text message or an email when someone posts on your company’s Facebook page or mentions you on Twitter.

- You can also use an app like Perch or Mention to get an easy view on your business’s online reputation, and then to respond to upset customers quickly.

- Last but not least, set up a Google Alert for your business and product names. Technically, this isn’t social specific, but if someone is writing blog posts about your business or products, that gives your business the opportunity to reach out to them via social and talk more--whether they’re a happy user or not.

 

Be proactive

In one particularly memorable interaction, several weeks ago, I posted a video of my kitten on Twitter. Purina’s social media team responded a few hours later with a edited version of the video with a super-cute caption. Obviously, I love anything that makes my pets look even more adorable, so of course I retweeted them and raved about how awesome it was.

The lesson here? Don’t save social service for when the customer is already disgruntled. When you’re lacking upset users to respond to, you can use that spare time to actively seek out people who are asking questions about your products or services, or talking about how great they are, or even potential users who didn’t specifically mention your product but might find it helpful.

Everything we talked about above in regards to social monitoring applies here, too. Using the above tools to find people, reach out to people who are talking about your brand or things related to your business (the above video was tagged #catsofinstagram, for example). If you really want to go above and beyond, many CRM tools have a feature where they can find someone's Twitter profile based on their name and email address. Using that, you can create a Twitter list of customers and check in on it a few times a day to engage with them.

Present a unified front

When asked what bothers them about dealing with phone customer service, 42% of customers said having to re-explain their problem to each agent they were transferred to. So why, if customers find it so annoying, would some businesses seemingly go out of their way to recreate that experience with social media? There’s no excuse for making your customers explain the same thing more than once on social, and then re-re-explain over email. Whether it’s by using add-on for your helpdesk system, a CRM, or something else, make sure your customers don’t have to repeat themselves.

   




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