As a small business owner, you know the importance of being on social media channels. Your customers are there, ready to interact with you. You tell them about your business, but are you doing everything you can to optimize your social media approach for customer satisfaction?
If you aren’t tracking brand mentions across all social media channels, you’re missing a huge opportunity to connect with your customers. People don’t tag your brand in their posts just for fun. They want you to respond, so do it. If you use software, such as Hootsuite, you’ll be able to track mentions and reply in the same place. It’s important to reply regardless of whether the post is positive or negative. Happy customers love to be acknowledged on social media. Unhappy customers must be acknowledged and, if possible, have their issues remedied immediately.
Forget the Robots
Only one thing is more annoying than being ignored by a business you’ve reached out on social media — getting a canned response from a reply bot. Don’t be the business who does this to your fans and followers. Replying to direct messages, brand mentions, and even business reviews is vitally important. A real, live person must create these replies, whether you hire a social media manager or do it yourself. Keep track of social media interactions with your customers in Insightly, so your whole team can see interactions in one place. Responses should be personal and representative of your brand voice. Wherever the message and whatever the tone, the end goal of your response should be total customer satisfaction (if possible).
This sometimes seems impossible for small businesses, especially when you’re managing your own social media channels. But the sooner you reply, the better. One survey found that 32 percent of customers expect a response within half an hour.
Don’t be tempted to use an automatic response in order to get that quick turnaround on messages, though. It’s better if your customers have to wait a few hours for a personal response from you than to get a useless response immediately from a robot. This is especially true for small businesses. You can supply personalized, helpful responses that deliver truly great customer service, just be sure to make them timely, as well.
Aim for Transparency
Social media is a public means of communication. Be as transparent as possible when conducting yourself there. Beyond simple customer service requests, your customers may want to know what kinds of charitable work your business is involved with. They may ask questions about your business practices or about the conduct of specific employees. It’s smart to approach potentially explosive topics with caution, but don’t avoid them entirely.
Be as honest as you possibly can. If you’ve screwed up, admit it publicly, as soon as possible, and follow through with rectifying action immediately. By displaying your honesty for all social media to see, your brand builds trust with followers and develops a reputation for authenticity. This kind of trust, which can’t be built with ads, is priceless.
Stay in the Same Place
If a customer tweets you a question, answer it on Twitter. If they Facebook message your business, message them back in Facebook, too. It’s frustrating to get a response from a business that reads something like, “We’d like to help you with that. Please call 1-800-redundant.” If they wanted to talk on the phone, they would’ve called your business to begin with. While sometimes circumstances arise that necessitate a different platform, it should not be your standard answer to request communication elsewhere. If you must talk elsewhere, explain why.
Using social media for customer service opens the door for you to give your customers exactly the kind of help they’re looking for. Exercise empathy in your replies and you’ll build trust and loyalty among your many satisfied customers.