Outstanding Customer Service: A Journey, not a Destination

Gone are the days when customers had to be on hold for an hour listening to the background on-hold music, desperately hoping to get connected with a customer service representative. The other alternative was to draft long, winding letters/mail, which offered no guarantee of a response. Social media has brought about a vast improvement in the way customer service is provided and only those brands that provide real time customer service inspire loyalty and word of mouth recommendation from customers. Today’s customers have simply no patience to call customer support to register their complaints. And that makes it harder for companies to get into customer good books.

How to deliver outstanding social media customer service

According to Forbes, among the millions of twitter users, around 67% reach out to brands expecting customer service. However, there is still a big gap between what customers expect when they post their issues on social media and what brands deliver. There are three factors to the success of response provided by companies:

  1. Speed of the response
  2. The quality of the solution
  3. The way the company has responded

Here are some tips on how to deliver outstanding social media customer service.

Quick response time

Earlier customer support via phone or email was not expected to be available 24/7; but now with social media, customers expect companies to respond within minutes. Companies should respond to inquiries, reviews as well as complaints without major delay. According to Forrester research, “73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service”. Poor response time results in, customers sharing their bad experience with their friends and relatives, discontinued use of the product and sometimes even complaining of the poor service on public platforms.

Stay on top

Keeping a track of what is being said about the brand through different social media platforms is of utmost importance. For this purpose, companies need to actively invest in software and social media monitoring tools to help monitor mentions, reviews or complaints. Companies must catch customers by surprise by responding immediately, thereby showcasing that every complaint or issue faced by the customer, big or small, is of importance to the company. Real time response to customer complaints and comments is the need of the hour if the company wants to save its brand image and create memorable customer service experiences for their customers.

Respond to every mention or comment

One of the biggest mistakes companies make is not responding to a customer’s query on a social media platform. While, responding to a comment on a customer’s good experience is an easy task, the same amount of importance should also be given to negative reviews or comments, whether directed at the company expecting a response or an indirect mention, where a response might be beneficial. It is necessary to acknowledge the customers concern and apologize for troubles they may be experiencing. Also, it is important to avoid generic responses and go that extra mile to make the customer happy.

Make it personal

Giving a scripted response to customer queries may not be the best way to ensure customer satisfaction. Personalize the response to the customer by using their name, which goes a long way to show that they are receiving personal attention. Many brands make it a practice to include name or initials of the customer service representative in their responses, personalizing the interaction and assuring customers that they are dealing with a person on the other end and not a faceless corporation. It is necessary to demonstrate empathy in the responses, as well as sharing contact information to provide further assistance offline.

Follow up

Following up with the customer after a successful customer support interaction is a must to “keep in touch” with the customers and ensure that they don’t face any recurring problems or issues that need to be addressed. It shows the customer that the company cares, thereby adding a human touch to the relationship with them. Also, after solving the issue offline with the customer, it is important to thank the customer for reaching out to the company in the respective social media platform. When the customer has a reason to express gratitude it makes sense for the company not to miss out on it. The customer experience can be further enhanced by contributing posts such as, answering FAQs, information on some unique ways in which the product is being used by customers and much more.

To conclude

To provide outstanding customer service, it is necessary for companies to build stellar relationships with their customers by constantly listening to them. It is important for the brand to stand out, by providing one of a kind customer experience and going above and beyond to satisfy the customer. It is always important to follow up routinely and build on brand loyalty.

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