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Social Media Customer Service: Reacting vs. Engaging

Social-Customer-Serivce-Party1-250x300Most companies I work with have the social media customer service thing wrong. They typically monitor social channels like Twitter, Facebook and others and react to the comments, trying to respond and fix customer complaints. If all a company is doing is responding to customer complaints, well that is so… 2012!

Within the past two years or so, companies have figured out how to take social media customer service to a much higher level. No longer do they just react to comments on social channels. They also engage in conversations with their customer communities. They interact and provide valuable information in the process. Reaction is still an important part of social service, but there is much more.

First, let’s look at the concept of reaction. Here are three important points to consider.

  1. Speed counts. Reacting and reaction time is extremely important. If I wanted to have my question answered 2 hours from now, I’d have waited 2 hours to ask the question. Regardless of the social channel reaction time is paramount. Social Bakers had an interesting stat that the average wait time in social media is nine hours. That’s right. Nine hours! The 2014 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer indicates that 25% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response time of less than an hour.  The bottom line is: when a customer complains, they want to get an answer now.
  1. Stay on the same social channel. If somebody approaches you via Twitter, try not to move them to Facebook. Sure, you may want to move the customer to a private area, such as Twitter’s direct message forum. There may be times that you might have to move the customer to a phone call or maybe some other channel, but try and keep to the same channel, if possible.
  1. Finish strong. Regardless of how upset a customer may be, start there. See what you can do to solve the problem or answer the question in such a way that the customer would want to say something nice about you via their favorite social channel, once the issue is resolved, thereby turning what may have started out to be potentially negative PR into something extremely positive.

As the social customer service experience transforms into engagement, here are three more ideas to consider:

  1. Consider developing an app. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get something that will engage and interact with your customers. The app can share new information about products, better ways to use your products and more.
  1. Create a content marketing campaign. This is perhaps one of the strongest social media strategies you can have. The key is to deliver content versus blatant marketing. It’s not about asking for business. It’s about delivering value. Do it right and the business follows.
  1. Use YouTube. Create videos that deliver value with solutions to commonly asked questions. I once bought a ping pong table and had difficulty setting it up. All I had to do was put the model number of the table in the YouTube search box and up came a video that helped me put together the table. It was like the customer service rep was standing over my shoulder telling me exactly what to do. Customer will leave comments under your videos, so be sure to interact with them there as well.

Social media customer service is powerful. It’s more than reacting. Engage and interact and you’ll experience more appreciation and loyalty from your customers.

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Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go tohttp://www.thecustomerfocus.com/. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

 

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