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Steps for Better Customer Service Through Social Media

Social Media Blogs - Aliza Sherman
Social media blogs by Aliza Sherman Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Steps for Better Customer Service Through Social Media

Steps for Better Customer Service Through Social Media

Social networks have changed the way businesses communicate with customers and has created the impression that faster is better. Every company is now faced with the challenge of keeping up with comments, reviews and posts about their products, services and people at a pace that they’ve never experienced before. And every customer these days expects to get a response if they post something online – and may get irate if they don’t hear back in a timely manner.

How does customer service work now that most interactions are public and available for all to see? And how does anyone keep up with the demand, much less track what has happened and what was done about it?

Here are some basic steps toward setting up and running a smooth social media customer service operation.

1. Pick your representatives. Not everyone makes a good customer service rep. Pick individuals with strong written communications skills and empathy skills. You want people whose words in digital text come across as caring and compassionate, not snarky or dismissive.

2. Develop your process and train your people. Write down what you expect from your social media customer service reps in terms of timeliness, attitude, and follow up. Make sure everyone on your team using social media is well-trained and that expectations are clear.

3. Establish a protocol. Determine who are the decision makers in the customer service process and what steps your team needs to take before taking action or promising a remedy. While you want to respond as soon as possible with a polite acknowledgement, you don’t want to obligate yourself to something that you later find out was unnecessary.

4. Monitor the Internet for mentions, good and bad. Use tools such as Hootsuite to track your social network feeds but also incorporate monitoring tools such as Mention and Google Alerts to cast a wider net and pull in posts and comments pertaining to your company.

5. Respond immediately with a non-defensive and courteous acknowledgement. Most people complain in social networks simply to be heard. Giving them an immediate response can help them feel like their opinions matter and that you’re listening.

6. Put the complaint into your process for remedy. Don’t let comments or complaints slip through the cracks. Immediately after acknowledgement, document what was said and done through an organized system. Your system could be as simple as saving the relevant information in a spreadsheet or you could use other social media management dashboards like SproutSocial to track what was done.

7. Nail down remedies for common issues. Not every complaint or request is the same because every person is different, but when you find common issues cropping up, come up with a basic response or remedy that can be customized for any situation.

8. Craft your FAQs for internal use. As you and your team provide customer service, you’ll notice some of the same questions or issues cropping up. Keep track of these and compile a document that all team members can use for reference and consistency of service.

9. Craft and post FAQs for customers. Once you’ve identified the questions most customers are asking and you’ve worked through your internal document of questions and answers, edit it for public consumption and post it to your website and link to it from your social networks. You can also post it as a Note on your Facebook Page for easy access.

10. Track and archive all issues and review for areas where you can improve. Documenting complaints and remedies is not enough. Look for patterns to see where you may be falling short and where you can improve. Look at social media complaints as invaluable market data that can help you build a better business.

Don’t forget to celebrate the wins. When someone takes the time to say something nice to you online, thank them, and share the compliment with your team. They deserve it!

Read other business articles by Aliza

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