3 Excellent Tips to Improve Your Social Customer Service Environment

By: Sofie De Beule

July 24, 2014

Building strong and valuable relationships with your customers requires more than an occasional “check-up” to see how they are doing. More than simply fixing your customers’ issues, businesses need to interact meaningfully, consistently, and proactively with their customers. Building social capital, and investing in the value of your network, helps your company grow into a sustainable business and opens the door for opportunities to build loyal brand advocates.

When it comes to building a unified brand across all channels, providing superior customer service is crucial to deliver on an strong, honest brand. While your social media team might already be up and running, any valuable tips comes in handy when optimizing the workload for your team. Organized and strategic management of the volume of incoming messages, providing quick and efficient solutions for your customers, and decreasing stress in a rather hectic customer service environment can all lighten and streamline daily operations. Showing off the ability to proactively manage people’s complaints is a good way to build a distinctive brand.

How exactly can businesses optimize social customer service?

1. Encourage and Respond to Feedback

Tailoring your product or service to your customers’ needs by proactively asking them for feedback is the best way to ensure your customers’ voice is being heard as well as making them feel special and developing trust. A simple way to encourage people to give their opinion is to create an “ideas forum” that allows your customers to express their opinions freely on several topics (e.g. R&D, customer relations, product use, etc.) and works completely independently and hassle-free. Providing your customers with the opportunity to contribute to the future development of your product(s) is necessary to remain sensitive to their needs.

Whenever you are asking for feedback, take good note of it, and make a clear distinction between suggestions and complaints. Once you have built this forum or have begun to proactively ask for feedback, set up a policy on how to deal with complaints to ensure you always act upon them. Make sure you moderate this closely, but more importantly, deal with negative feedback promptly and genuinely apologize for any negative experiences.

For example, NMBS, the national Belgian railway company, proactively takes action when people make comments about dirty trains, filthy windows, etc. on Twitter and quickly caters to the needs of their customers. By tagging these complaints in Engagor and saving them in personal inboxes, NMBS quickly passes on this valuable information to the right people in the appropriate department. Swiftly dealing with these kinds of issues is a great way to show off your company’s competence and display an aptitude for problem solving behavior.

2. Make Your Online Support Center Your Biggest Asset

A lot of customers deal with the same questions over and over again. Most of the answers and solutions your customers are looking for have probably already been answered and are readily available somewhere easily accessible like on a support page, in your support center, or FAQ page. Your support center is actually one of your company’s biggest assets when it comes to fixing people’s issues. To know in advance that customers are being taken care of properly at these points of service, make sure to address the most common questions and concerns, make them easy to browse, and be sure to update them regularly.

Address the most common questions and concerns in your support center, and make them easy to browse.

A great way to showcase your excellent customer service is to use testimonials to leverage your reputation, and share your own success stories. Think about which customers you can interview to show off your abilities. By establishing a solid customer service reputation beforehand, people already assume you provide great service. While some questions or issues are more complex, it already means a great deal to be able to give customers an immediate answer or easy solution to a multitude of issues and concerns in your support center.

3. Provide Exceptional Experiences

Positive and negative experiences are the ones that stick best in our minds. It’s hard to make every experience a good one, but try your best to create memorable experiences that would make your customers want to talk about it with their friends.

The first thing that will differentiate yourself from competition is your tone. Be kind and polite, and top it off with something extra like a piece of advice that adds to the conversation. In some cases, it’s also appropriate to tell a joke or add some humor to the interaction.

There’s nothing worse than waiting for hours for an misinformed and unfriendly response. Today’s consumers are extremely impatient, critical, and demand quick and accurate replies. In some cases, customers aren’t too focused on the tone of voice and only expect you to quickly acknowledge and resolve their issues. That’s why memorable experiences go hand in hand with great systems that support the social customer service process from beginning to end.

Social Customer Service is All About Listening Rather Than Talking

Measuring the success of your social customer service strategy allows you to quickly identify the areas that require improvements in order to swiftly adjust your strategy. Always keep a finger on the pulse of every single aspect of your customer interactions. Complaints that go unanswered only leave customers feeling frustrated, and they can end up resenting your business. In order to maintain ongoing relationships, listen carefully to your customers’ issues, acknowledge these problems, and respond swiftly.

This article originally appeared on Maximize Social Business.