How can one improve customer service via social media marketing? Originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
My suggestion is to consider two categories of “improvement”:
- Proactive. Reaching out to customers on channels available to you where it’s appropriate to communicate directly with your customers.
- Reactive. Handling customer support tickets, complaints, positive feedback, etc.
I always like to remind myself that social is a tool for communication. The emphasis is not on social, but rather on effective communication.
So that leads us to the question: how do we improve customer relationships?
Implicit in this question is the idea that there’s room for growth — to draw nearer to our customers. So maybe you can start to see that this exercise is a little more about relationship psychology than it is about gadgets and hacks to #100X your ROI to the moon (like many over-the-top gurus will claim).
You can’t do this overnight. Like any good relationship, it takes lots of time and small touches to build — and presumably improve — a relationship with a customer.
*steps off soapbox*
So what’s the actionable here?
For proactive customer relationship improvement, identify what a customer wants.
Perhaps, a customer — a human being on the other side of the screen — wants to be heard. Maybe they want to feel good about their posts and are looking for validation. They might want to learn new and interesting things about your industry.
So — depending on the niche — this is maybe 1 part content marketing to 3 parts engaging with clients on their content.
For example, you’re an ethically sourced coffee retailer. You can:
- comment on photos your customers are posting on Instagram
- hold contests for customers only
- do a customer spotlight and post user-generated content on your account
- find an influential customer and go LIVE with them
- like your customers’ content (when it’s coffee-related…don’t be creepy, or out of place)
- post content about other ethical companies and provide insights into how your customer base can easily reduce their carbon footprint
- comment on your customers’ tweets with positive feedback, or additional insights
- send a sweet direct message to your highest value customers thanking them with a free cup ‘o’ joe
Chance are, there are lots of interesting ideas (some simple examples above) that a business can apply to their marketing strategy to improve their customer relationships. This is rapport building, right?
You want your customers to be delighted! With that being said: it takes only a handful of really negative experiences to drive a customer away and lose positive word of mouth. In fact, it it’s bad enough — you can gain negative sentiment…especially in the age of tweetstorms.
So what to do when you’re on your heels?
This one’s straightforward — and I’m sure there are mountains of blogposts and articles about creating a positive customer service experience (see: adamtoporek, adrianswincoe, annettefranz, augieray, etc.)
All I’ve gathered is:
- Be prompt.
- Be informed.
- Be patient.
- Be educational.
- Ultimately, just take care of the issue and avoid the go-around.
IMO it’s more powerful to be actively engaged in your community, which means identifying and experimenting with audiences that fall into your demographic.
Know what I mean? Let me know what you think of this. Would love to learn from what works.
TL; DR — think of social channels as vehicles (with their own, respective rule sets and cultures) to deliver little touches of delight over time. Be proactive and build rapport. The best defense is a good offense; that means listen to your customers and iterate your product/service to reduce issues that should objectively be remedied.