Customer service has well and truly gone social – the way your customers want to interact with your business now is a whole different game and you need to make sure you’re keeping up to ensure your brand image is protected.
1. Customer interaction has gone public
Communication between you and your customer is no longer kept to a private phone call or email. It’s posted live on the internet for all your followers (and potential new customers) to see before you’ve even had a chance to discuss it. This isn’t always a bad thing, customers have loads of nice things they want to shout about, but it only takes one disgruntled customer to leave a negative comment ruining your reputation in an instant.
2. Customers can choose how they get in touch with you
With so many forms of communication, including multiple social media platforms, you need to stay up to date with what your customers want. One customer might prefer to send you a private Facebook message whilst others will post a public tweet, or comment on your Instagram page. You need to be familiar and present on all platforms if you want to communicate with customers in their favourite way.
3. Customers expect an instant response
Social media isn’t open between 9-5 only and your customers know it. If they are using a social platform to contact you, they tend to expect an instant response – especially when sites like Facebook sends a sneaky read receipt letting them know the message has been seen!
4. The customer is in control
That old saying that “the customer is always right” may not always be true, but they do have the upper hand so it’s worth considering. Your customer knows that they have the power to upset your brand image with a negative comment online, so they use this when trying to bargain for a better deal or money off, leaving them firmly in control.
5. Businesses need to display their personality
Social media is exactly what it says on the tin – social. It’s the perfect way for friends and family to stay in touch and share memories instantly. As a business on social media, you need to be more personal and show off your brands personality, engaging with customers in the same way you would a friend so your communication fits with the platform.
6. Reviews are available everywhere
Reviews and feedback from customers are no longer posted on review sites only, they can be seen on product images shared across social media or on your dedicated business page. Giving an awesome customer service both on and offline will ensure your reviews show a positive reflection of your company.
7. Customers talk to other customers
They may never have met each other and even live in different countries, but that doesn’t matter on social media; customers will chat to other customers on your social media page. It can be awesome for your customers to share their experiences and talk about what they love about you or your brand, but if talking about a bad experience here they might have power in numbers.
8. Businesses can use influencers to promote their brand
Social media has lots of advantages from the businesses point of view too, it’s a free platform for you to showcase your products and services and if you want to spread your message even further you can enlist celebrities or influencers to do the same so you’re reaching more than your immediate followers.
9. It’s so much easier for customers to find your competitors
Your competitors (and their customer service) is out there for your customers to see side by side your business details on social media. Some platforms may even recommend ‘similar businesses’ to those that follow you, this can work both ways so it is great for you, but also for your competitors. Use this to your advantage and make sure your customer service is the best out there on show.
10. Customer service is now open 24/7 (whether you like it or not)
As soon as you put yourself on social media, the usual business hours go out of the window. You’re open and available 24/7 for customers to see you and get in touch. Be clear on your social media pages what hours the page is manned and when they can expect a reply, this manages their expectations so they don’t get agitated waiting for you to respond.
If you want to make sure your brand personality shines through on social media, only give your customers awesome things to say about you. Showcasing your amazing personality throughout the customer journey could make them jump online and talk about how lovely it was to deal with you, this protects your online image and makes it easier to win round future customers too.