Using Social Media for Customer support and service

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In the past if a customer had an issue about a product or service they would would have had to write in or speak to a complaints department. In recent years, customers with queries or complaints have been diverted to a call centre in another country, often further infuriating them and providing inadequate levels of customer support.

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With the advent of social networks. customers can now bypass these traditional channels and communicate directly with brands via sites like Facebook or Twitter. This can be done in two different ways each of which requires a different approach. People either access a brands online social media presence and start a conversation or they use their own social media profiles to voice their concerns or complaints.

Brands like Vodafone (www.facebook.com/vodafoneuk) and Delta Airlines (@deltaAssist) use social channels as specific customer service tools. Individual, and in many cases named customer support staff answer queries online and most of these queries remain in the public domain.

However, it is also possible to have private conversations on both Facebook and twitter. On Twitter, you need to get the person to follow you before you can send them a direct (private) message. On Facebook you need to go to your Page s admin settings and tick the box that says “Show Message Button”. This enables any Facebook user-whether or not they like your Page to send the Page a direct (private) message. You can then respond to this message.

See Using Social Media for News distribution and public relations

Note you cannot initiate private conversations with people from your Facebook Page

Clearly, if your objective is to use social media as a customer support channel, you need to ensure that you have the policies and procedures in place to do it properly. These may includes;

  • round-the-clock monitoring of your site (s)
  • dedicated and correctly trained staff to deal with complaints
  • close collaboration between internal departments  to ensure a joined-up approach.

Being responsive in the social media arena can’t just be about apologies- it’s got to be about serving the consumer.

Don just pay lip service and make your presence all about managing your brand reputation. Get a proper customer support service running ad really make your presence count.

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