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7 steps to socializing your customer service

5 min read

Social Media

Customer service isn’t just about taking complaints and shooting out replies anymore. Today, brands find themselves moving away from traditional channels for providing resolutions such as phone calls and e-mails. Social media has stepped in to become a far more straightforward solution. And in all fairness, that’s what the world seems to care about now.

An average customer has come a long way from not understanding even the concept of after-sales service to taking it for granted. So the next time somebody goes on Twitter asking you something, they want you to get back to them within a few hours, if not quicker. And more importantly, it’s time to realized that there is an actual business opportunity here.

An increasing number of studies indicate that a specific group of people, called Generation Y, are being empowered with the ability to make purchase decisions and set trends for the market. But there is another side to this theory.

These are people who grew up with social media, who are used to having a cell phone beep in their pockets all day, and they are not likely to wait for a response from you, let alone appreciate it. The only way for your brand to take advantage of this is to go social, by allowing customer service staff to actively engage with customers on social channels. According to research from Bain & Co., a management consulting firm, customers that engage with companies over social media are more loyal and spend up to 40% more on the companies’ products or services than other customers.

So, if you want to be taken seriously, you will simply need to be more social with your customer support. Failure to adapt likely means that you would run out of business. Here’s how to get it done:

  • Monitor social channels. Start listening. That’s the first step towards building a social presence. You can’t address what you don’t know, so make sure you are there to take a look at what’s going on, and be sure to flag social media concerns just the way you would treat grumpy customers over phone.
  • Keep it positive. When done right, and done fast, social customer service can generate significant goodwill overnight. Sure, your customers are going to complain all over Twitter about you, but if you are smart, you could get down and settle things right there and turn all that into positive feedback.
  • Don’t stop loving your other channels.  Sometimes, a 140 character response isn’t enough to solicit a wow from your customers. You need to go out of the way and make the conversation more special. Being a customer service rep means you need to know the right answer, and and also possibly the best way to deliver it.
  • Make use of the right tools. There’s a lot more to customer support than being smart and giving out the right answers. Sometimes, you get held back by the tools you employ to take care of customer support. Helpdesk solutions like Freshdesk do a good job of streamlining your support process, so that you can find out what makes your customers happy, and do that. And along the way, you could get your team to be productive too.
  • Get proactive. Your support reps are always on the first line of fire. But they can also be the first ones at the crime scene if they are proactive. Stop waiting for your customers to complain straight at you, and realize that if they are shouting about you to the world, they can still affect your business. Take the first step for a change, and see how it can make a difference.
  • Pay attention to social feedback: When people like your product or service, they get to Twitter and Facebook to tell their friends and followers. Sometimes, fans come up with great suggestions and product ideas that could turn out to be features your customers will adore you for. Acknowledge them, and make them feel valued, while also taking the ideas back to the drawing board and considering them in your product roadmap.
  • Social support is a toughie.  You can’t tell people on Twitter that you respond to them only at set times, like British Airways did. Support on social channels is a bit of a toughie. Hiring a dedicated person to deal with brand mentions is a wise choice. He should know everything from why certain @replies don’t appear in people’s timelines to why hashtags are pointless on Facebook.

Social customer service should be integrated into other contact channels, enabling a seamless transition from one to the other, with proper tracking and metrics. Injecting social into the customer service experience is a natural extension of the user’s own personal interactions – they’re already using Twitter and Facebook extensively, so you should be a part of their conversations.

Freshdesk is a cloud-based help desk software that allows organizations to support their customers through e-mails, phone calls, websites, forums and social media channels. With powerful features, an easy-to-use interface and a freemium pricing model that makes it essentially a free support software for small businesses, Freshdesk is widely used by companies ranging from startups to enterprises. For more information, please visit the Freshdesk website and blog, or find them on Facebook or Twitter.