Social_CustService_Body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.

 

If you want to provide your customers with superior customer service, social media needs a prominent role in your communications strategy. According to a recent Salesforce survey, 81 percent of millennials use social media for customer service; 22 percent of those individuals expect a response in 10 minutes or less.

 

Meeting that expectation can be a challenge for busy small business owners, but it’s essential. Gartner, a technology research firm, has found that companies that ignore customer service requests on social media have a churn rate that’s fifteen times higher than companies that are responsive. Best practices for providing timely responses include:

 

Include customer service contact information in your social media profiles

According to Blue Ocean Market Intelligence, 73 percent of customers want to be able to solve their customer service issues on their own. Give them the information they need to make this happen in your social media profiles. A good best practice is to include designated addresses for common concerns, such as returns@companyname.com or specialorders@companyname.com.

 

Social_CustService_PQ.jpgMonitor all social media channels, especially Facebook and Twitter

While your company may be active on several social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter are by far the most popular channels used for customer service inquiries. Twitter is important even if you don’t have a lot of followers or activity associated with your account. That’s because customer service interaction via Twitter has increased 250 percent in the last two years. At least one member of your team should be receiving notifications when anyone comments, responds, or sends a Tweet to your company.

 

Relay customer service inquiries to appropriate employees

Because social media is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness and creating customer interest in sales and promotions, responsibility for it often falls to a company’s marketing team. However, these individuals may not be adequately prepared to address these concerns. Make sure you have a system in place to immediately funnel customer service inquiries that arrive via social media to the appropriate employees, so they can be addressed promptly and accurately.

 

Don’t tell customers to call you

Automatically giving out your store’s phone number in response to customer service inquiries is not a great idea anymore. According to the Aspect Customer Service Index, one third of millennial shoppers would prefer to do pretty much anything else other than pick up a phone and make a call. Give customers options, including email and messaging app contact information, they can use to contact you.

 

Track performance for best results

On a weekly basis, review the number of customer service inquiries that came in, the channels they arrived on, and the response time and outcome of each. This practice can help you identify common concerns that need to be more clearly addressed via your digital presence.  For example, if many people contact you each week to find out when you’re open, it may be time to make that information more prominent on your website and on your social media channels. Doing this will help your team understand and prioritize rapid response to all customer service inquiries.

 

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