By michaelpace on July 11, 2011
“How do you guys do Social Media Customer Service and do it well?”
I might be paraphrasing, but that is probably the most common question that has been asked of me during the past 2 years at Customer Service and Call Center conferences. In this post, I thought I would have my team at Constant Contact give their top tips to executing Social Media Customer Service and how to manage these team members. So straight from the Unicorn’s Mouth*
Top Tips from Community Host & Social Support Associate Jarrad:
- Response Time – Customers on Social Networks are looking for answers fast, especially on Twitter. Minimize any delay in a response. We try to respond to any @ or general Constant Contact comment within 2-5 minutes.
- Keep the Customer Informed – If you are experiencing downtime or a problem, address it immediately. Be proactive and honest. This is a great way to build brand loyalty.
- Content – It is not all about reacting to customer issues. You can help them before they even contact you. Try to provide content that your customers want and are interested in reading or watching. If you see an article that relates to your client base send it out to them
- Support – Not all answers can be solved by a simple tweet. There may be some back and forth, but try to solve the problem online rather than having them call in.
- Call The Customer – If an issue cannot be resolved online, don’t pass it off to your phone support. Make the call yourself and do as much as possible to resolve the incident at that moment.
- Research – If a customer has a blanket statement like, “I hate your company” see if you can find out what has prompted this tweet. Check their website or email address and see if you can locate the customer’s account. Find out the “Why” before responding.
- Ask for Feedback – If someone is considering canceling their account or stopping business with you, rather than leaving it alone, ask them for feedback. Not only does this show you value their opinion; it can also help retain customers.
- Personality – Try not to sound too robotic or stale when answering customers. Be social. Talk to them casually and personally and at the same time, keep it professional.
- Experiment – Social Media is still new and trying new ways to interact with your customers is important. You never know what will work and what will not until you try it.
- Visibility – Be aware that everything you say on a Social Network has the potential of being seen by millions of people. Don’t respond to trolls and don’t post anything your company would be embarrassed by.
- Empathize – Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. (How would you like your favorite company or brand to address your concerns?)
Top Tips from Community Host & Social Support Associate Marissa
Acknowledge as soon as possible
- You don’t need to have an answer readily available, but at least if you acknowledge you saw the tweet or post and you’re looking into it, people can be very appreciative.
- Try to put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re reaching out to. You may not agree with what they are saying or have ever been in the situation, but at least try to understand.
- If someone says something horrible about your company, don’t start a fight and tell them that they’re wrong. Something as simple as “Was there something I could help with?” can go a long way. I even had a Blog Post written about it!
Curate content you know about
- Don’t just tweet articles you haven’t read, make sure you can answer questions on them if need be.
Know your audience and your brand
- Make sure the content you’re curating for them will provide value. Don’t waste their precious time with useless noise. Find information they can use, find entertaining or can learn from.
- Different customer service brands have different voices, you need to know yours. For instance, Zappos and Tiffany & Co. provide great service, but have very different voices.
Thank your followers
- Whether someone re-tweets what you say or if someone gives you great content, tell them thanks.
Don’t be afraid to have conversations
- Don’t just answer questions. Start a conversation with those that ask questions. You’ll be surprised what you may find out. I was helping someone the other day and even though they weren’t local, they told me about a local restaurant to check out!
Top Tips for managing Jarrad and Marissa by Ros
- Transitions between team members is critical. If you have multiple team members tweeting or managing social support, the customers shouldn’t be impacted by a shift change.
- “Social Influence” is an indicator but not the goal. From the help side, your number of followers and retweets are not the primary metrics. Your Klout or influence is AN indicator not THE indicator. Socializing this with your internal team and executives is important.
- Trust is key. As a manager, you must trust that your team’s intentions are good and support their risk taking. Social Media is changing everyday and some mistakes will be made. It is important for your team to know that you support them even if they stumble.
- Hiring curious people is key. Social Media is fast moving and having people eager to learn is more important than having people who have all the answers.
*Unicorns are prettier than horses