By Sue Brady
It’s no secret that social media is playing a bigger role than ever when it comes to customer service. Customers expect responses fast when they tweet to a brand. In fact, 78% of consumers who tweet a complaint, expect a response within one hour. Twitter even removed the 140 character limit for direct messages. Now brands can direct message responses to customers and use the space they need.
From time to time I attend the Content Marketing World (aka @CMIContent) Twitter chat – #CMWorld. A Twitter chat is an organized gathering of folks who are interested in an announced topic. The format is usually 8 – 10 questions that are posted one at a time to the crowd. CMI chats host their chats and include a subject matter expert in the conversation. They cover great topics relevant to me. If you’re curious about something, it’s a great way to gain insights (and no one needs to know you’re there!).
Last week’s chat was about social media and customer service, with @jaybaer. I thought I’d recap some of the content that was shared because it was so good.
The first question to get us rolling was: How has social media changed the game for customer service? Here are some of the responses:
@mikemyers614: (social media) means the lights are always on and the “phone” must always be answered. We’re all 24/7 now.
@dmboutin: brands are accessible where people are already spending their time, instead of a 800 # in the fine print
@sgoldberger12: Social Media Has Amplified It. Those Who Engage Expect Quick Answers. Customer Service Is Ever More Important.
@ardath421 (social media) means that customer service needs to be served up wherever the customer wants it
@LeadPath (social media) allows us to respond at real time to customer concerns and feedback. It lets us engage with our customers
On the topic of how B2B is different from B2C in social media:
@LeadPath With both B2B and B2C you need to remember you’re talking to customers.
@mewzikgirl: the advancement and immediacy of response/resolution in B2C has changed expectations, and B2B has to grow and adapt
The key thing to remember is that you are still talking to people, in both B2B and B2C.
On whether you should answer all questions posed to your company in social media:
@dmboutin: Yes. Look at cost of customer acquisition & retention then tell me addressing all concerns isn’t worth it
@Magnani_Dot_Com: The user doesn’t see all the messages being answered, they simply see theirs going unanswered.
@LUCYrk78: It’s 100% realistic. You make the time and team to ensure customers are listened to. It’s today’s expectation.
@netvantage: Realistic, no, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
@CTrappe “Thanks for your tweet” is not that great of a #custserv response.
@flinds: An effort should be made to all address complaints on SM, even if just to tell them to email. Being noticed goes a long way.
There were many suggestions on dealing with negative comments online.
@mikemyers614 said: Removing or editing is a dangerous thing. Chances are if one person says it, 10 more are experiencing it. Deal with it. Fast.
Jaybaer wrote: Respond to every hater, both the Offstage Haters (phone, email) and the Onstage Haters (social, review sites, forums).
Jay recently published an excellent book on this very topic called “Hug your Haters: How to Embrace your Complaints and Keep Your Customers. Great information for those who struggle with this topic.
He adds: But my best tip is the rule of Two. Never respond more than twice online. Take it offline.
I wrote a post a while back on dealing with trolls. That might help too. You can read it here.
And on handling positive comments, the common answer thread was to turn those commenters into brand advocates by acknowledging them, retweeting them, doing something nice for them, asking them if you can use them as a recommendation. What others say about your business is so important. 90% of customers are influenced by reviews!