Here are 7 tips that will ensure your organization is providing exceptional customer service on social media.
by Shannon Shields
Are you aware that 72% of customers who rely on social media to resolve a complaint expect a response within 60 minutes of their post - no matter the date or time? 
While that seems like an outrageous expectation to some, the reality is that social media is quickly becoming the first place that many turn to for customer support. Even if your business doesn't have an account on the platform.
Don't lose current (or potential new) customers because you simply weren't there to reply to a tweet. If you're just getting started on social for business, here are 7 ways to ensure that your social media customer service delights your customers.
- Before jumping in, develop a social care policy
Who will be responsible for your social media customer service efforts? What will your response to a complaint be? What actions should be taken, in what sequence? A social care policy will ensure that you have a plan already in place should a less than attractive comment be made for all the world to see.
- Answer every question and comment.
You wouldn't hang up the phone if someone called your business to ask a question, would you? Of course not. You also wouldn't simply ignore someone in your office or storefront if he or she had a complaint. So don't do so on social. Be sure to answer every single question or comment, preferably asking for a private message to resolve any issues. It will show others, even those who are not yet your customers, that you care.
- Respond quickly
You can determine how this can be done at any time of day with your social care policy. Social media customer service is about convenience and speedy resolutions. If a complaint is tweeted on a Friday at 6 pm it is simply unacceptable to respond to it at 9 am Monday morning because "that's when our customer service center is open." (Hmm... that sounds like a firsthand experience. Yes, we at Wired Flare are customers on social too and have used Twitter for customer service results.)
- Provide a resolution
It's not enough to redirect a complaint to private message for resolution without actually resolving it. It might be easy to forget about a complaint on social that you promised to look into. However, if you don't resolve it, what do you think will happen? That's right, another post will happen. This second post will be worse since it would be clear to anyone who took notice that nothing was accomplished.
- Provide updates
If the resolution is not something that can come quickly, provide your customer with updates on the progress. Let them know that you haven't forgotten about them.
- Be proactive
Search your business on all of the major platforms on a regular basis. Customers may be saying wonderful (or not so wonderful) things about, rather than to, your business that you should respond to. Don't only reach out to complaints, thank your supporters. Always. Consider rewarding some of your most faithful followers in a way that makes sense for your business.
- Don't block followers (unless absolutely necessary)
Sometimes your business ends up with a complainer who can never be made happy. Even if this is the case, it's important to stay in contact with this person. Blocking followers doesn't keep them from talking ABOUT you, only to you. Keep the lines of communication open as best as you can. That being said, if the situation becomes out of control, blocking may be the only (last resort) option.
It's not likely that you'll be able to remain free of customer complaints on social media, but handling them appropriately can actually make your business look better than if there had been no complaint at all. To balance that, how great is it to celebrate those who support your business? Pretty great. So get your business on social and start delighting and engaging your customers like never before.