Customers frequently use social media to interact with organizations whose products and services they favor.
It’s important for brand managers to be aware of their online presence and to use social media to provide customer service. A successful “social service”
strategy depends on your ability to recognize and address both positive and negative customer feedback.
How your organization responds to customer complaints and compliments can affect your brand’s image. Here are a few ways to improve how you interact with
1. Personalize your messages
Instead of replying to customers with automated messages, use your response as an opportunity to show your brand’s personality.
If there are multiple people controlling your social media or customer service email accounts, have them write their initials at the end of messages to
personalize further. This will help to create a real relationship between the customer and your service rep.
Customers like to see playfulness, so keep in mind that it’s OK to inject humor—if it’s appropriate—when offering a solution.
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2. Designate a social media support channel
To make it easier for your customers to receive help online, create a separate Twitter handle for customer service. For example, in addition to its
official McDonald’s Twitter handle, the brand has @Reachout_mcd., an entirely separate account dedicated to responding to U.S. customer service inquiries.
3. Don’t keep your customers waiting
Aim to respond to a customer complaint within 60 minutes, even if you’re responding only to say you’re working on the problem. Taking hours to address a
complaint will frustrate your customer, and it might make the situation more difficult later on.
4. Act rather than react.
Respond to every customer even if they are attacking your brand. Instead of reacting negatively to criticism, use it as feedback to improve your product.
For customers who praise your product, service or brand, be sure to thank them personally for being a customer. This shows established and potential
customers that you value their opinions.
People expect brands—and the reps behind them—to value their customers’ loyalty and to acknowledge and address problems. If used well, social media is the
best avenue to meet this need and strengthen customer relationships.
What do you think, PR Daily readers? Which brands do you think excel at online customer service?
is a student at U.C. Berkeley and co-teaches courses in marketing and networking at the Haas School of Business. A version of this post originally