Our members have been contributing some awesome posts to our Social Media theme this month and this one is no different. Enjoy this blog by Trish Fontanilla, VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap that provides some great social media tips to help improve customer care.
Trish Fontanilla is the VP of Community & Customer Experience at Vsnap, a video messaging platform for people in sales & support. In her current role, Trish ensures the customer is at the center of all interactions involving community, support, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @trishofthetrade or @Vsnap (personalized video guaranteed).
You probably realize social media support is marketing. Your community has a megaphone within arm’s length, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anyone can see all of your interactions with that community in real-time, unlike email or phone calls (although even those are public knowledge these days). And don’t forget, your answers aren’t just available now, most of your public interactions are indexed by search engines as well.
All of that may seem terrifying to some, but customer service is an incredible opportunity to show how your brand makes things right. So what are some quick tips to guide you through the challenges of social media and customer support?
Hire the right people. - This is the most critical component (for any part of business, really). You’ve probably heard some heinous stories about bad customer service via social, and if not, check out Search Engine Journal’s Top 35. So what does it all come down to? Bringing on someone that is both empathetic and energetic, that you can empower with the right information. And that you trust to improvise in any situation in order to go beyond customer satisfaction.
Drop the robotics & be human. - People already misinterpret things you say online, so save the automated responses for drip campaigns. This means erasing “sorry for the inconvenience” from your customer support dialogue. It’s not what you’d say to someone in person, why say it online for it to be Google-able for all of eternity? And while we’re on the “be human” topic, put in your social bios that a human is actually answering the brand account. This is generally denoted with a ^ and the person’s name / initials.
Stop pushing to answer your customers on another platform. - 91% of customers would prefer to self-serve, so if they’re reaching out to you, they probably weren’t able to find the answer on their own. Answer your customer’s inquiries on whatever platform they came to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s inconvenient for you or your CRM isn’t set up to receive responses there. The only reason you should be pushing for email or direct messaging is if a feature is more complicated than 140 characters, or if it involves their personal account information.
Show progress. - You can’t always solve the issue a customer has, but you can show them that you’re trying to figure it out. This means giving them timely updates, and always checking in when you say you will. But it could also get a little fun. Take a picture at the meeting where their issue is being discussed, or write a blog post and call them out for bringing the issue to light. No matter what, make sure you’re keeping them in the loop, so they know that you’re really listening.
Connect with your customers outside the ticket. - This is something I usually tell community managers, but it goes for custserv folks as well. Get proactive. Engage with your community. You don’t need any fancy tools -- just using Twitter search, you can figure out people’s birthdays, anniversaries, and when they’ve gotten a new job. Say hello and congrats, and connect with them before any issues may come up and get to know them as people instead of ticket numbers.
Of course there are many nuances when it comes to different platforms, but these SM 101 tips will help you form a solid foundation to your brand’s social media customer care!