It was just a year or two ago that customer-facing businesses thought they could do without social media if they weren’t looking to serve younger or tech-savvy customers. That wasn’t true then and it certainly isn’t true now.
Social media has become a leading medium for consumers to voice opinions about their every interaction they have with a company and its products or services. Expectations of speedy replies and immediate attention have raised the bar.
If someone had a bad experience, chances are they are going to talk about it, tag you and make sure their network knows about it. If they have a good experience, you hope the same will happen. The onus is on you to keep an eye out and respond where appropriate.
It’s in the best interest of your company to have a social-media expert handle customer-service protocol and complaint resolution. Consistency and follow-through is key here. Arguing a complaint or posting defensive responses and threats (legal or otherwise) can all backfire. These types of replies can even make headline news (in a very bad way)!
For example, Southwest experienced quite a bit of negative backlash when a disgruntled customer tweeted his discontent and was subsequently asked to leave the aircraft. Remember, it isn’t two-way communication anymore.
Social is the new customer-service platform and business owners must have a plan in place to react and communicate. Additionally, a strategic and well-thought out social-media content strategy can result in earning customer loyalty when executed correctly.
In case you’re not sold yet on the importance of social customer service, here’s another great example. A Lululemon customer recently received a package for a running cap that he had ordered. When he opened the package, he found the company had accidentally sent him 19 extra caps — a $600 value! The customer alerted the company to the error via Twitter. Lululemon initially thanked him, but then changed its mind and said he could keep the caps and encouraged him to share them with others.
Grateful for the gesture, he replied that he planned to give the hats to friends and share the story about how he got them. Although Lululemon lost $600 in merchandise, it made a positive step forward in repairing its somewhat negative reputation via excellent social customer service. The company satisfied a pre-existing customer and received positive publicity in addition to gaining 19 more potential customers through word of mouth.
Now that we all know a social customer-service plan is necessary, here are some tips on how to implement a successful social customer-service plan: