In this day and age of social media, companies connect directly with their current customers and their potential customers. Social media provides companies with opportunities to see if their brand is mentioned anywhere on the web whether it be a cry for help or a compliment on a product.
The Internet is an open platform for business marketing however, and this ability to connect with customers—maybe even if they don’t want you to—can become a negative thing for customers. So how do you avoid being compared to a telemarketer? Here are some tips to become a proactive company on social media.
1. Use an Opportunity the Right Way: There’s a right way to engage your customers online and a wrong way. Your brand might get talked about a lot, but that doesn’t mean you need to respond to every single mention of your brand. It can be a little creepy and overbearing! Instead, choose the right moments to respond to customers. A good example would be if someone mentions having a problem with one of your products after purchasing it. That’s a good time to have a trained customer service representative connect with that customer and start a conversation on how best to help them.
2. Balance Public and Private Conversations: Social media has the benefit of showing a public audience that you’re hard at work on a person’s problem. When someone complains on Facebook or Twitter, you can address that person directly, and publicly, so that user’s friends and followers can see that you’re a company that takes a personal interest in their customers’ problems.
This is a good tactic, but there’s a side to this that needs to be addressed. You want to start out addressing the complaint publicly, but then have one of your customer service representatives reach out to that customer with an email or a phone number to take care of the problem further. The complaint should be addressed publicly, but the problem should be taken care of in a private one-on-one forum.
3. Provide Social Media Training: It’s important for your company’s employees to all be outspoken about your company on social media networks. It’s also important to provide specialized training for anyone who is speaking for your company. This is a definite requirement for those specific employees who are tasked with dealing with difficult customer situations.
4. Focus on a User’s Influence: The best company policy is to help any one of your customers that might have an issue. It’s always a good idea to pay attention to those customers that have a wider reaching influence than others. Your company has to be smart about reaching out on social media as well as prioritizing on social media.
5. Use the Data: Any engagement with a customer generates data that is extremely useful to you and your company. Smart companies are taking this data, analyzing it, and making more informed decisions that benefit their customers which benefit the company in the long run. Your company also needs to do this. Make sure these complaints are landing at the right departments as well. New color suggestions or how a customer is using a product are examples of customer complaints that should be directed to your product designers.
How your company engages on social media dictates how your company’s customer service will be seen from this point on. Social media is becoming a more powerful platform for customers’ voices. If your company doesn’t listen on those channels, then you will lose customers to the companies that do.