Customer Service: Make or Break Your Social Media Reputation

By Stevie Sleeter, Content & Social Media Manager

Published: March 12, 2016

When it comes to your reputation online, customer service is everything. And social media has given customers a whole new level of power. Well put by Robert Cordray, “it is now possible for a review of a product or service, cleverly written and coupled with an entertaining video, to go viral, resulting in either windfall profits, or huge losses.”

Whatever the channel, businesses today playing in the social arena need to entertain very real considerations of the medium as an arm of customer service. As the ‘new word of mouth,’ customer reviews, complaints, praise, and questions that go unanswered by a brand pose a real threat for your digital reputation and ultimately, your sales.

Customer Complaints Gone Viral

The sheer number of customer service inquiries made via social media has made it difficult for businesses to meet the challenge of addressing them all. According to an article in Forbes magazine, a 2011 study revealed that up to 70% of customer service complaints made on Twitter went unanswered. Fast forward 4 years, and we can’t help but assure you with 99.9% accuracy that the number overall complaints on social media have increased, and likely so too have the number of unanswered questions.

With so many customer inquiries swirling about on the web, all it takes is one cleverly written or explained story to send your social media team in a tizzy of viral action.

The following are a few examples of our own that include customer feedback with the potential to go viral:

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How To Navigate:

  1. Make sure you’re listening. “The use of social media in gathering and responding to customer feedback regarding products and services has become an integral part of the business landscape. It provides businesses with valuable information that they can use to make necessary adjustments and make positive changes in response to common customer complaints.” Make sure you have a listening tool and team in place to catch customer service issues or customer inquiries within a reasonable time in which they arise. For some companies, this may mean a response time of 2 hours, for others it may mean responding to customers within 24 hours.
  2. Understand that the more your respond, the more issues may arise. Be prepared. Once people see that the brand is out there and helping people, more people will come to your social channels for support. Facebook is an easy, quick go-to outlet for sharing opinions. It is an especially common public forum for frustrated individuals to air their grievances. Know that while initial frequency of customer inquiries may arise, it is beneficial in the long run – for both the customers and the customer service team.
  3. There’s a time and place for a canned response, in many situations – just be real. If you ask just about any social media team out there today, they’re likely to let you know that they have a library of canned responses for various situations that arise. Know that these are useful in a pinch, but where you’ll find true value is in just ‘being real’ with your fans. Don’t make them feel like they’re interacting with robot, let them know they’re having a conversation with a person, and that you genuinely care to help them.

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