Are you doing Customer Service in Social Media?


SociaL tips

If you had to stop and think about this answer you are already behind. More and more customers are wanting to talk directly to the brand via Facebook or Twitter. And they want an answer right then and now two hours later! This may sound demanding but this is quickly becoming the norm in the world of customer service.

As I reported last week. Facebook is going to start rewarding brands that answer questions within 5 minutes. If you are successful at answering 90% of questions in 5 minutes, Facebook will show that on your page. Is this reasonable for small businesses? That will depend on the new messaging for Pages implementation.

As it stands now the Facebook Pages app is kind of wonky for me. I have notifications turned on but I don’t receive all the notifications when needed. Most of the notifications are “This post is doing better than 75% off your other posts.” Thanks Facebook that’s great but I need to know when comments are made and messages are received.

So how is a small business to conduct customer service effectively?

  • Respond –  Respond to people as soon as you can. The old rule of thumb was 2hours on Facebook and 15 minutes on Twitter.
  • Be Honest – If you aren’t at a place you can answer their questions.  Tell customers when you will answer their question. Then give them a time frame when you will follow up and FOLLOW UP!
  • Take off line – if the problem is complicated take it off line and talk to them via the phone. If that is not possible, move it to email. Its way easier to directly talk to someone to figure out a problem then doing it in 140 charters.
  • Follow up – Even after you have solved their problem follow up to make sure things are still good. It will show you are going the extra mile for a customer.

These are just basic 101 tips. The most important one is be honest. If you get caught in a lie it could be detrimental to your company. Remember “news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience” (source White House Office of Consumer Affairs).

Things coming to make customer service in social easier:

  • Facebook pages messaging will enable faster response time from brands
  • Twitter is removing the Direct Message 140 character limit

These are a few tips for conducting customer service in social. My next post will deal with that person who posts negative things on your social media accounts. Come back tomorrow!

Tim is the founder of Element33. A social media agency specializing in education, management and strategy for small businesses. He comes from a traditional marketing agency but has embraced all things digital. He considers himself a marketing nerd and believes that all marketing is tied together. This means no matter what silo you are in, social, email, seach, etc, changes in one will affect the other!

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