Question: As a smaller company it is hard to have people watching our social media all the time, but we do want to be more responsive for our customers. Should we use social media as a customer service channel?
I could actually make this a really short blog post by just saying yes. Because that is the answer.
Social media may in fact become the #1 channel for consumers looking for quick response customer support. Others have suggested that it may even be the best use of real-time marketing out there. Even though service isn’t exactly marketing in a traditional sense, great service is very marketable so one drives the other. Make Sense?
So back to your question…
The reality is whether or not your company is using social media as a way to manage customer service, that doesn’t mean your customers aren’t. This means 2 things.
- Whether you are there or not, your customers expect you to be and may come looking for you. If you aren’t there then you are missing out on a chance to respond.
- If you are there and aren’t responsive they are going to have a problem with that.
In fact, did you know that more than 60% of consumers expect a same day response to their social media service inquiries? Of that, a large percentage expect responses in less than 2 hours and some within just 30 minutes.
While these numbers are skewed a little bit because of big brands and retailers that are providing real time service, the desire for immediacy is a leading indicator of a trend. People want a quick response to their needs and social media is a great way to accomplish this.
In short, using Social media as part of your integrated service and marketing strategy is a must, not a luxury.
So here are some tips for small companies looking to make a big impact by offering service via social media.
- Use a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout to make sure you are seeing all mentions of your company online.
- Monitor regularly (at least once hourly) or if use is very low then set up push notifications so you can see mentions via email.
- Treat notifications much like you would a call or email for support. Respond as quickly as possible.
- If at all possible help your customers understand your service response times. Some companies even set up separate Twitter handles or other social profiles just to make them the place for customers needing service to go. This way the other social handles can be used for sales, engaging and promoting.
Social media listening and customer service is perhaps the next big thing in real time communications and marketing. Is your company moving in this direction? You should be…
Do you have a question for “The Mailbag?” Click Here to submit your question and have it featured in an upcoming Mailbag.