Like most things in life, the key to rocking customer service on social media is being prepared. Although you may not need to have every detail of every situation mapped out, it is critical to have a plan to understand what is expected of you internally and what customers can expect from you.
In addition to understanding expectations, it’s important to gain as much experience as possible. If you are new to a team, stand on the shoulders of the giants who have gone before you by absorbing your training materials like a sponge. If you have been around the block a few times, don’t stop learning. Rather than hitting the books, you should teach your peers to spur on fresh paths of discovery.
A few actions to boost your preparation:
- Have a plan.
- Know what to do in common situations.
- Know your training materials.
- Know how far you can bend rules.
- Know what is expected of you.
In order to provide excellent service via social media, you have to first know where you are needed. Make sure you implement social media monitoring tools such as SocialMention and Google Alerts. By keeping your thumb on the pulse of your customers and receiving alerts when an issue arises, you will always be involved with the conversations about your brand.
Beyond just being aware of what is being said and when, also be conscious of the circumstances you can deduce are happening on the customer’s side of things. In the same way that body language can communicate more than the words being spoken, the social network being used for communication and the way their message is being communicated can say much more than the actual message, especially since social media messages are so limited in the number of characters allowed.
Here are three questions to help you read between the lines and meet your customers closer to where they are without requiring them to explicitly say:
- What does the network tell you about them?
- What tone are they using?
- What is their history with your company?
- How can I learn from my peers about their experiences across platforms?
- What topics should I request training about for being more aware?
Once a plan has been created, experience had, and monitoring tools put in place, the next most important part of providing exceptional customer service through social media is to do so as quickly as possible. When your customer reaches out to you, they want to feel special. They want to feel like you are 100% dedicated to them. Although they may not care about your planning process that they don’t see, they will definitely be judging you based on the length of delay.
Before simply hitting the reply button to fire off a response, it’s important to back up your communication with knowledge. Be sure to spend time experiencing your products and services to fully understand where your customers are coming from. In addition to your personal experience, make sure you know how to tap into the knowledge of those around you and also how to share your knowledge with them.
Here are a few ways to decrease your response time:
- Know your product, services, and company so well you can craft a suitable response on impulse.
- If you are new or simply don’t know enough about a situation to fix it, have a communication channel in place to discuss with your peers instantly.
- Once the response is ready, deliver immediately.
- After the response has been delivered, record the experience in a way that your peers can learn from your experience.
Once you have connected with your customer, be sure to provide the value they need, not just the value they think they want. This can sometimes be accomplished on social media, but transitioning to another medium such as your company’s chat software, email, or a phone call is often a requirement to engage your customer deeper. Once the secondary connection has been made, ask questions rather than spewing answers.
This is where the great customer service is turned into excellent customer service. If you know how to ask the right questions, you can dig down to the core issues that make up the problem and provide a long-term, sufficient cure as opposed to a temporary bandage. As with timeliness, thoroughness also requires a deep level of product knowledge, training, and experience to provide a fantastic customer experience.
Here are a few ways to be thorough:
- Transition the communication from social media to dive deeper.
- Be sure to seek out the root cause, even if the customer doesn’t know.
- Don’t finish helping until the problem is solved.
- Understand the product well enough to foresee what problems are related that may need to be addressed.
- Provide the customer with educational resources to promote self-service options when possible.
Learn how customer service teams across all sorts of industries are using Lessonly to help empower their staff to stay connected and co-experienced here.