5 Best Practices for Customer Service on Social Media
By Ashna Goenka on July 27th 2016

Customers, today, are more likely than ever to take to popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to vent out their frustrations. Gone are the days when customers used traditional customer care channels to get their grievances addressed. It’s the age of digitisation.
People will write where they sense the brand’s presence. Besides, who’s got the time to talk to your call centre agent for hours, when they can tweet AND watch GOT at the same time!
Additionally, disgruntled customers don’t just want YOU to know they are unhappy? They want EVERYONE to. The public nature of social media explains why customers think they are more likely to get a timely resolution on social media, as opposed to a Consumer forum.

Based on my experience of working with over 40 leading B2C companies in the country, I have compiled below a list of what I feel are the best ORM practices that one must deploy as part of their Customer Service strategy:

1. Every second counts

Listen to the customer’s complaint and act fast.
                                                                    —  Richard Branson

It is imperative to respond sooner rather than later. Customers today expect brands to revert on social media within an hour of their post, no matter how ungodly the hour. You might even consider hiring more resources or restructuring the existing ORM team to maintain low TAT on social media. That said, your agent might not have the exact answer to the query. In this case it would be nice to acknowledge the user, with a promise to get back to them.

2. Show some love

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
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Empathise with your customer, and show them that you really care. Do address the customer with their first name to make the dialogue more personal. Some brands are taking personalization a step further by asking their agents to post their initials/first name at the end of the tweet/post. According to a study conducted by Twitter, about 77% of the customers who get customised replies are likely to recommend your service to other people.

3. Be cool

Keep it casual and friendly. While it is important to respond in the tone of your company, it’s also good to make the interaction on Social Media as conversational as possible. Don’t let your CEO’s orders to maintain a low TAT tempt you into using those irritating template responses. The user should realize that he is talking to an individual and not an “enterprise giant”. Crucial to hire smart people to achieve this target. To get some perspective, look how Netflix replied to this customer’s very real problem: (:P)

4. Redirecting the customer, a big no-no

Often brands post links of complaint forms or email IDs, trying to drive traffic away from public forums. In our experience, this neither works, nor should it be done. Firstly, most people take to social media platforms because they have low expectations of getting their problems solved via other sources. Asking an unhappy customer to pursue a different channel will only anger him. Also, resolving the issue on the public channel helps promote your brand’s image as one that cares about resolving their customers’ grievances. Use this!

5. Be proactive

Don’t wait for a molehill to become a mountain. Setting alerts or alarms on your social media pages/listening tools can help you catch issues before they turn into crisis situations. Some global brands are also using social enrichment APIs to take special care of social influencers who, if enraged, can make you go viral and not in the way you would like.