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This post was most recently updated on May 2nd, 2018

Customer satisfaction is an integral part of any business. As more and more customers turn to Facebook and Twitter to voice complaints or ask questions, there is little doubt that social media is a vital tool for engaging with customers. It’s even more important for you to know how to measure customer service.

According to the Q2 2016 Sprout Social Index, 90% of surveyed consumers have used social media to communicate with a brand, with 69% stating that a fast resolution to a problem determines the quality of the service provided.

Having a well developed social media strategy has never been more important. Your organisation’s approach to customer engagement in this arena can make or break customer satisfaction with your brand. So, how can your social media enhance customer service?

What are your customers saying about you?

First and foremost, as a company it is important to focus your time and resources in the correct place. If you are unaware of what your customers are saying about your business it is impossible to address their questions, concerns, or feedback.

Simply searching for your brand name online can be invaluable in helping you direct your support. When you do find the forums or social media outlets where your brand is being talked about, you then have to act. Failing to engage with your customers on this level can have a negative impact on your overall brand image.

Measure customer service

You must always remember that the customer is the foundation of your business. Listening to their thoughts and opinions is absolutely vital. This does not just mean replying to their questions, but also analysing the general customer activity across your social media outlets. For smaller companies it may be necessary to collect a week or a month’s worth of data to obtain a large enough sample, but for larger businesses this can take less time. This information can then be used to determine how many comments:

  • Have been written in frustration
  • Provide useful feedback to other users
  • Are account specific
  • Can be answered using links or any other resource

 

With this data, you can plan staffing and resources, define priorities and make decisions about self-service options. You can also decide if you should deal with issues on the social media outlet or provide a link to another support platform. This helps you offer a streamlined service that answers customer questions without unnecessarily wasting company time.

Timing determines customer service excellence

When replying to customers it is very important to answer the customer query in a timely manner. Most customers believe a fast reply is central to good service, with 42% believing that a response should come in under an hour.

Traditionally, live customer support involves phone or chat services but the growing trend towards using social media presents new problems. The nature of a phone call means that a response is instantaneous, but in this new landscape it is important to monitor your different social media channels. It is generally best to respond immediately to any issues but, in the event of a situation where you are unable to satisfactorily address the customer’s request or complaint, a delayed but accurate response is better than a rushed, inaccurate one.

Remember that you are on show for the world to see

As social media is a public forum, when you reply to one customer you are also responding to everyone who views that webpage. Consumers are affected by what they see on a brand’s website or social media and there are a number of actions that can severely damage your public image.

Firstly, treat all your customers in the same way. Do not reply to some comments and ignore others nor delete or hide comments and posts. This can be interpreted as a lack of respect to your customer base. In addition, when a customer has a complaint, make sure your response is not defensive to avoid engaging in an argument with the individual. A back-and-forth with an unhappy party presents a minefield of possibilities. Being sucked in may result in an unwanted slip in tone or providing bad information.

Not everything can be solved online

It is helpful to know when a conversation with a customer should be taken to a more private method of communication. Overuse of the public channels can have negative consequences on your brand image. This is especially important in two particular instances.

First, if the customer’s request involves the exchange of personal data, the conversation should never be continued in a public space. Simply ask the person in question to move to private messages or provide them with an email address or contact number they can reach you on.

Second, if the customer has a specific grievance or complaint it can be unproductive to continue the conversation online. Publically request for the customer to continue the discussion through another channel where it is easier to come to a more constructive solution.

The nature of today’s market means there is no way to avoid using social media to engage with your customers. Developing a coherent social media strategy that reflects your organisation’s identity and values helps your organisation construct a positive brand image, and enhance customer satisfaction.