How to Use Social Media To Offer Savvy Customer Service

In business, we all know that customer service is everything. And as consumer needs and expectations rise, it’s imperative that we as business owners rise to meet those needs.

Given the enormous power of social media, there’s virtually no excuse not to create impeccable customer service experiences with your product or service.

Why? Because social isn’t just for promotion and distribution. It’s also necessary to engage your community. One important way to do that is by devoting much focus toward customer service.

J.D. Power and Associates published a 2013 social media study indicating that 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media page for service. Making your company or even yourself accessible on social media is hugely important to those who will buy from you.

Here are ways social media helps you create great customer service experiences:
1. Social allows you to listen.
One of the first rules of social is being present where your community hangs out online. The next order of business is listening to what they’re saying to and about you.

One common way to do this is by reading blog and Facebook comments, tweet mentions and direct messages and email.

Outside of these things, though, it’s imperative to monitor your brand with tools like Google Alerts and Social Mention to find indirect mentions of your brand, product, service or a particular individual.

Google Alerts allows you to get alerts for any search term or keyword you desire – whether it be in the news, blogs, groups, web, videos or all of the above – for free. You can also control how often you receive updates via email.

Social Mention is a free, real-time social media search and analysis tool that takes things a step further by allowing you to access analytics about the sentiment (positive, negative or neutral) of the search term you’ve entered (which could be your brand or an individual). Additionally, you can monitor top associated keywords, the number of users and top users mentioning said keyword, top hashtags associated and top sources.

Social monitoring tools like those mentioned above help you dig deeper into what folks are saying about your brand – allowing you to address questions and problems. The only way to know a problem (or a common set of questions) exist, to handle those problems or questions and create more happy customers is to know what they’re saying about your product or service.

Don’t let feedback catch you by surprise.
2. Social allows you to respond quickly.
Once you understand how your target audience or customer feels about your brand, product, or service or if there any questions are issues, the next step is to respond.

Many customers dread call centers with long wait times and contact forms that send their questions or issues off into the ether without a trace. Make your small business stand out with how well you engage customers online.

Social media can help you to meet your customers where they are and take the dreaded middle man out of getting problems solved or questions answered – and help you do it quickly.

Standards have been raised and time is of the essence. Immediacy and responsiveness are critically important because customers often expect a response to a query speedily.

In fact, research indicates customers who mentioned a problem to a company on social media expected a response within 60 minutes.

Yet, sometimes it’s difficult to resolve a complex issue online. There will be times when the fix needs to be handled off-line with a phone call.  But, the most important point is acknowledging the customer and opening another line of accessibility and communication. Doing so shows that you value your customer, allows you to help diffuse tensions, clear up misunderstandings and humanize your brand.

After all, business is all about relationships and social media is another conduit to nurture and support them.

How has social media helped you create great customer service experiences? Leave your comments below.

Courtney Herring is the founder of The Champ Media Agency and a consulting entreproducer dedicated to helping time-starved entrepreneurs execute their content strategy to nurture inspired and engaged online communities by taking the headache out of editing, social media, and Web content maintenance, allowing clients to be successful in other pursuits. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.