Customer Service and Social Media


smiley faceYour call is very important to us.

Really? I feel so superior at this moment since I’m listening to a voice activated machine. Thank you for acknowledging that my call is important to you, Mr. Machine.

Our customer service representative will be with you shortly.

Uh huh. And, the definition of “shortly” to you is vastly different from my definition, which means you pick up the damn phone within 10 seconds or I hang up.

You are (pause)……5th in line. Your approximate waiting time is (pause) 20 minutes.

Click.

You’ve heard it before. You’ve been there before, and it drives you absolutely insane. Just about as insane as listening to nails scratch down a chalkboard or people clipping their nails (fingers or otherwise) at their desks.

I’ve been in customer service all my life. Customer service is not a “service.” It’s a product.  Let me put it to you more simplistic terms: When a customer walks away from your business, what are they going to remember most? Your tie clip? Your shiny shoes? Your disheveled hair? Possibly. But, those people are insane (like me). What I remember most and will most likely have stashed away in my long term memory when I need your product again is the kind of treatment I received when I first purchased it.

With social media in the picture, customer service is more important than ever. I’m sure as a company you’ve worked hard to develop and convert customers, so you should not let bad customer service drive them away. All it takes in today’s social media environment is one bad comment on your fan page from an angry customer to make it go viral. So, on one hand, you have an angry customer who not only types up his displeasure on your fan page, but also posts his more angrier comments on his own Facebook wall. How many friends does he have? The average FB user has about 200 friends. multiply that by another 200 if his friends decide to “share” his post on their walls.

Viral. Viral like the swine flu. Viral like dancing babies.

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Word of mouth networks is what now influences people to purchase something from your business. Unless you’re Coca-Cola or Starbucks, you’re going to need a little help with managing customer comments online and learning how to respond to them in an efficient and appropriate manner.

What to do……what to do…. For starters, train your customer service team on how to respond to social media comments. If  you don’t have a customer service team, that leaves you. So, here’s a few tips:

It’s a bird, It’s a plane! No, It’s Customer Service Super Hero!

Never underestimate the power of helping a customer who needs assistance. No matter what the issue is, just help them. Better yet, anticipate they need help. If you see a comment on your Twitter or Facebook feed that “reads into” something you feel with your “spidey” senses more specific, then start asking probing questions to get to the topic and solve the problem.

Talking. Conversation is Good. Silence is Bad.

The reason social media is around is to evoke conversation. That’s the reason why you have a fan page. If there is a problem comment on your page, then respond with a helpful comment in return. Don’t let there be silence. Silence indicates to the customer that you just don’t give a damn.

So, what if it’s a really negative comment? If you start with a normal concerned vision, the customer may respond with a little more calmness. But, if he/she keeps driving nails into your coffin, you’ll be best to just say, “What can we do to make it better?” It’s called the parent/child effect. Try it.

Customers want validation. Maybe they want you to research something for them, or they noticed a flaw with your product. Or better yet, maybe they have an idea to improve your product. Whatever it is, respond to them and start engaging in the conversation.

That’s what social media is for. Your fan page, twitter account and Linked In among others, are all opportunities for you to improve your customer relations 24/7 365 days a year.

Customers love convenience. They also love quick responses. But, what they really love is making them feel like they are number one. They are the only thing that matter to you at that very moment. If you want the sale, if you want repeat business, then give them quick response time on your social media networks. Attend to their needs and don’t ignore them.

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