Once upon a time, if a customer had a problem or wasn’t happy, he or she would have to call on the telephone and try to get through to someone who might help. Or maybe sit down and write a letter to your company.
This could be annoying and make the problem even worse if the person wasn’t able to get the problem solved in a timely manner. Thankfully, today you have the ability to solve client problems almost instantly. That is, if you’re using social media for your business effectively. If that’s the case, all they have to do is log on and post their problem to you and get an answer in a very short time.
One of the social media platforms that businesses are using the most these days to provide near real-time customer service is Twitter. Social media has transformed the way we think of customer service — in a good way. No longer do customers have to sit on hold, waiting to be put through to the right person. They don’t have to wait days on end for a problem to get fixed.
Every day, more companies are realizing the power this gives them to keep their customers happy. Not only does it ensure they keep coming back, but when they receive top-notch service they’re very likely to tell others about it … and what’s better than free word-of-mouth advertising? You can even get new customers out of it. We’ll talk more about how you can reach more potential customers toward the end of this post. The main point is: Are you taking advantage of social media for your business?
If your business isn’t using social media to reach out to or respond to customers, you can bet that one of your competitors probably is. And that’s not good news.
When you use social media to interact with and serve your customers, that interaction is, for the most part, publicly viewable for anyone to see. Your comments and reactions to customers are visible to all. That means it’s essential to remain professional and personable at all times. If you feel a complaint isn’t justified, the last thing you want to do is blow a fuse and attack the customer. Stay calm and treat the person as you would want to be treated, and keep the image of your business a completely positive one. Respond quickly, respond calmly, and try to solve the problem.
Here are just a few companies that use Twitter for customer service:
Tips for Using Twitter for Customer Service
Set up a support or customer service account — If you’re already using Twitter for your business (and I hope you are), you’ ll want to set up a new account dedicated solely to customer service and support. Don’t try to blend your main account with customer service. Not everyone following you will want to see your support tweets; and companies who use their main accounts for customer service receive far more complaints than those who use a dedicated support account.
Personalize everything — There are many ways to come across as personable beyond just doing your job. Assign users to your support channel. Each one should operate under a personal name instead of just “customer support.” Support tweets should also end or sign off with that name. Whenever a support tweet is sent, use the @ symbol with the names of anyone who may need to or want to see the tweet. Include a personal photo instead of a logo.
Reach out to possible new customers — Tons of questions are asked on Twitter each day. How many of those could be somewhat relevant to your business will of course depend on what line of work you’re in. But you should always be watching (or searching). There’s the normal Twitter Search, but it isn’t very time-effective. Also, you’ll often get flooded with results that are spam tweets or aren’t really applicable.
A very neat alternative I came across is InoxQ. You can easily search Twitter by keyword to find people who are talking about something related to your business. If you use HootSuite, it can hook directly into that. But personally, I like how lightweight the Chrome app is (there’s also one for Firefox and Seesmic). Install it and connect your Twitter account and you’re ready to go.
Simply click on “new campaign” as shown below.
1. Enter a name to identify your campaign.
2. Use the slider to determine if you want more results (possibly not as high quality or closely related), or fewer ones that are of higher quality.
3. Enter some keywords (if you enter fewer than three, it will return exact matches only)
4. If there are keywords you do not want to be associated with and get results for, you can use the negative keywords option.
Do this for all the campaigns you want to set up and then they’ll show up in the campaigns tab, like this:
Click the campaign name to do a search. (Later you can also view stats of that campaign, edit it, or delete it.)
Here is what the search results look like — this was for pizza; real original here
Now, when you find someone asking a question related to your business, you can help them out. Reply and answer their question, follow them, and send them a direct message. By helping them, you’ve just placed your company in their sights.
There’s no excuse for bad or slow customer service anymore. Twitter is just one of many ways you can use social media to connect with your customers, offer support, and get your business in front of potential new customers. If you don’t know where to start, need help creating a social media plan, or would like someone to handle it for you, just contact us.
We can help you make a plan or we can do it for you. We’ll monitor everything and interact for you, and you don’t have to worry: you’re always in good hands. If there’s anything we’re unsure about, a question we can’t answer on your behalf, or we’re not sure how to reply, we’ll always communicate with you. You can tell us the correct answer or you can jump in on those occasions and handle it.