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7 ways social media can improve your customer service

Customers increasingly expect to use social media to connect with a brand, including customer service. But getting it right can be tricky. Abhishek Kakkar, social engagement and reputation manager at O2, has a few key tips to help you use social to help your customers.

1. Use social. If you haven’t embraced the world of social media yet, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. People just aren’t phoning businesses as much as they used to, and according to a report by business analysts Forrester, webchat and social media are steadily taking over as preferred points of contact. Statistics from Twitter show that customer services engagements on the platform have increased 250% in the last two years.

2. Pay attention – and act fast. Customers expect a brand to listen and react whenever and wherever they wish to talk about the brand. That may be Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube or a range of other channels. Like the train operator that saw a tweet saying that a passenger had run out of toilet paper – and immediately got an attendant to bring him some. As a customer service message, that’s hard to beat.

3. Show your human side. Social media is a great way to get your brand’s personality across. Whether that’s just you, or you have a ‘brand voice’ for your organisation, social is where you can engage directly to build trust and relationships with your customers. It also shows that you know where your customers are and what they’re saying. Over time, you’ll find that people will be talking about your brand because they want to, not because they have to.

4. Be open and honest. Social isn’t the place for strident sales messages or business-speak clichés. Speak like your customers do and be straight with them, even if things haven’t gone so well. They’ll be more likely to trust you – and tell their friends. So your brand will benefit, and so will your return on investment.

5. Answer once – but reach many. One conversation can answer the same question for many followers. Think about it – you might have to answer a common question a hundred times over the phone, but only once on Twitter. That sort of equation can save you both money and time on your customer service investment. And your customers can get their answers quicker – so it’s win-win.

6. Engage with your customers. Social is a great way to get early, real-time feedback and business insight on whatever you’re doing, whether it’s a new launch or just a new idea. Seeing the reactions as they’re happening, and using that insight to align products or services to customer demand can really do wonders for your brand. Remember to consider GIFs, emojis and newer ways that people use to communicate on social.

7. Use social insights. Use social media monitoring tools to track your brand and see where and how you’re being mentioned. There’s a wide range of apps and professional services that can track when your business is mentioned. So you can react quickly, and keep your finger on the social media pulse. By diving into social analytics, you’ll know your audience segments, their interests and opportunities. So you can give them what they need, when they need it.

 

Customer service is changing, and yet it’s staying very much the same. People need answers to their questions in the simplest, most straightforward way possible. But increasingly, that way is social.

 

 

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