Poor social media customer service can have an incredibly negative effect on businesses. When British Airways lost Hasan Syed’s father luggage they had nowhere to hide. Buying a promoted Tweet Syed was able to get his complaint in front of thousands of people. Even worse for British Airways that Tweet was picked up by major news outlets spreading the message that the airline provided poor customer service to an even wider audience.
All of this could have been prevented if British Airways had taken more care to provide quality customer service through social media. It took British Airways 10 hours after the tweet went live before they responded. By that time the tweet had already been picked up by the News website Mashable.
Social media has levelled the playing field for customers. It gives then the same sort of access to a world wide audience as major corporations. In order to prevent PR disasters it’s important that companies understand how to use social media to provide exceptional customer service. Here are three social media tips that businesses can use to improve customer support.
Don’t Neglect Your Social Media Accounts
British Airways could have prevented much of the damage that occurred if they have been paying more attention to their social media accounts. Social media is not a one-way street where the customer has to wait patiently until you get around to responding to the problem. If you do not respond in a timely manner to the issue that they have raised then you can quickly lose control of the conversation. If you are ignoring complaining customer on social media chances are more than that that one customer will see the problem. Customer service reps need be trained to actively monitor what people are saying about the company on the social media accounts. They need to reply in a timely manner and be seen to be resolving the issue.
Social media customer service is not just about dealing with complaints and problems. Customer service reps can also use social media to engage customers and promote the business. In much the same way as customers complaints attract negative attention, businesses can draw positive attention to their organisation by actively engaging with their customers on Facebook and Twitter. This could involve thanking customers for their purchase and asking them if there is anyway that the sales rep can help further.
Don’t Ignore Problems
Ignoring complaints on social media isn’t an option. Facebook comments or Twitter tweets that make a public complaint need to be addressed. Usually the first thing that you want to do is apologise. Consider why the person is complaining and then apologise for the incident that has led them to become upset. You should also aim to follow up with either a telephone call or an email to address the issues in more detail. Often it is because customer feels that the complaint is being ignored that they will try and draw more attention to the issue on social media.
Businesses need to actively track questions and problems on every social media platform that they have a presence. Responding in a timely and helpful manner can help avert negative attention. It can even turn a problem into an opportunity to positively brand the business. Quality social media customer service is a chance to show the world just how helpful your business can be.