Customer service in social networks is one of the fundamental aspects of the online presence of any company, but if it is eCommerce it becomes a vital element. The larger the company and the more customers it has, the greater the challenge and the more resources must be allocated in this regard, on pain of the company’s online reputation irretrievably falling off a cliff.
Within an omnichannel- type strategy at pechs, in which the client must not perceive differences regardless of the channel they use, customer service on social networks must be especially careful, since unlike any other channel, it is carried out, at least in part, in public .
Therefore, users will be very aware of how and in what way the company resolves the complaints or claims of other users. Because, let’s not kid ourselves, 99% of the contacts received by this means are complaints and claims.
Large companies, aware of this situation, have put their batteries in this regard. Long ago I had the opportunity to teach a customer service course in a call center of one of the largest telephone operators, and I was surprised to see that a significant percentage of the staff was dedicated exclusively to customer service on social networks.
They are very, very aware of what is at stake in this regard. We are going to analyze some guidelines that must be followed if we want our customer service in social networks to be effective and contribute to improving our online reputation.
Customer service on social networks: what to do …
1. Dimension resources well
Properly serving the client implies that adequate resources must be available for the number of complaints that reach us through each channel. Analyzing through property news the average time it takes to resolve an incident and the daily number of incidents received, we can have a fairly precise idea of how many people we need for this.
I emphasize: ne-ce-si-ta-mos.
The attention to the client in social networking is a firewall that can prevent a fire with unpredictable consequences for the reputation of the brand.
2. Properly train customer service personnel on social networks
A basic rule must be the adequate training of people who are responsible for customer service on social networks. Managing a pissed off client is complex and you need to have specific training in this section, since the consequences of mishandling in social networks are much worse than in telephone or personal attention.
An unresolved claim means a customer who is going to put us down on a donkey , which can ruin an entire online reputation strategy. Therefore, the people who manage this issue must be able to resolve claims and have a direct line with people with decision-making capacity. It is not a job for a community manager , unless it is properly trained, something that almost never happens.
3.Define a flexible protocol
While telephone customer service is governed by fairly narrow protocols and the degree of freedom of the agent on duty is minimal, the same cannot happen on social networks. We cannot have canned answers to copy and paste , because that “sings” more than buyproperty playing Tosca .
But we must have answers for the most common cases. The protocols must have a degree of flexibility in the response, but above all they must be decisive . At a minimum, a basic protocol has these phases : Listen to the client> Apologize> offer alternatives> resolve> verify compliance with the solution.
We should always ask the client of blue world city to give us their data in private and follow the conversation out of focus, but that does not mean that we should not make the solution public if the client does not (not to mention, yes).
4. Use the magic words
And those magic words are: sorry (or sorry) or any other public apology formula . Whether the client is right or not, the first thing we have to do is regret that he is angry and offer him all our availability to resolve his incident (do not use “problem”).
No company wants to have angry customers, so it is regrettable that you are. And that must always be done publicly. The purpose of this preliminary apology is to calm the client so that his eyes are no longer bloodshot and he leaves the ax, the jerrycan of gasoline and the (virtual) kalashnikov on the ground.
It is very difficult to reason when the other party capital smart city is so angry that they don’t even listen to you. Therefore, asking to tell us your case and apologizing should always come first, without interrupting or questioning what you tell us, but asking questions that show interest in what you tell us.
5. Ahead of the problems: the crisis plan
How many times have we seen eCommerce websites that do not say this is mine when faced with a fall and wait for the barrage of claims? In the event of a service failure, whether or not it is our fault, we must put ourselves in crisis mode : make it public, apologize and inform, if possible, of the causes of the situation, the measures that are being taken at all times and the solutions as they occur.
In real time, that’s what social media is for. Paradigmatic case where there are: that of Aena (now skymarketing) when the famous strike by controllers forced all flights to land . Both their website and their phones were blocked, and only social networks continued to work to give information about what was happening. With remarkable success, by the way.
Lesson from this case: You have to have a crisis communication plan in case everything goes badly wrong.
… And what not to do
6. Don’t put your dirty hands on my keyboard
In the face of a reputational crisis, when things get out of hand, nervousness spreads among company managers (a euphemism for the most abject panic).
Many, aware of their responsibility and what is at stake, make the mistake of putting themselves to respond on social networks to the cry of “kid aside, I am in charge. They will find out ». And they mess it up brown. There are many cases where a past lap manager has loaded customer support on social media.
To avoid this, a golden rule must be followed: anyone who communicates directly with a client, by whatever means, must be trained to do so. Obviously, in a crisis, managers have a lot to say, but they must do it through the filter of a trained person, who will prevent them from committing mistakes.
If they have their own profiles on social networks, silence or continuing as if nothing are not an option, but saying what they want there is also not . Their profiles at that time will be considered as representatives of the company for all purposes, and as such they must act.
7. Don’t downplay a claim
It may be bullshit for you, but claiming involves an effort , as we already told in a more generic previous entry on this topic. A client who feels under-served suffers a curious transformation: he grows in size, he grows hairs, his teeth lengthen and he ends up being a troll.
If that happens, you have no choice but to handle it as such, ( don’t feed the troll, you know ), but in many cases the origin of a troll is in poorly managed customer service on social networks . All claims are important and all must, to the extent possible, be resolved. At least, attended. And if they cannot be solved, explained.
8. Do not contradict a client
A client who publicly complains arouses a wave of sympathy on social networks. It is David against Goliath. We must never, ever forget that we are in a public conversation, and that even in private we must be extremely careful, since nothing prevents the angry client from copying and pasting the private conversation on their profile.
In fact, it does.
Therefore, empathy from the first moment, not getting defensive but trying to understand what is happening to you and showing a willingness to resolve, are key aspects to be successful in the face of a claim. “You are not right”, “that is not so”, “you are wrong” (best of you, but it depends on the style of the company), are radically forbidden expressions in customer service on social networks.
9. Don’t take too long to respond
The ideal is the immediate response. If you are not going to be able to have a 24-hour service, start by specifying the hours of operation in your profiles . Let the customer know when they can expect a response. And within that time, immediate response. Taking an hour to respond to a complaint on Twitter is an eternity. Take a day on Facebook, too.
Remember that Facebook specifies the average response time and the percentage of messages answered on company pages. An agile response is a vaccine against anger. And once answered, the process must be followed without delaying it in time. If you have to consult something and you know that it will take hours to get an answer, tell the client, but let them know that their claim is in process and that you have not forgotten him or her.
10. Don’t forget to say thanks
You always have to thank the customer for their question . This helps us to learn and improve. But don’t do it mechanically by sounding like you’re a telemarketer. We are in a different environment. Be grateful when you touch , it is not the first thing you should say. But be grateful.
11. Do not explain a negative
If the answer to a complaint is negative, things like “I am not authorized”, “it is not up to me” or “we cannot do that” are kryptonite. A refusal must always carry an explanation and the formulation of an alternative. A resounding “no” leads to a fire in the networks.
Conclusions on customer service in social networks
In conclusion: customer service on social networks is a very particular type of customer service. It has its own characteristics that must be taken into account and adequately included in the planning and execution of the service. The immediacy, closeness and conversation of you to you are great allies. But we are in public view, which is a challenge, but also an incentive to do it very, very well.
All these commandments are summed up in one: You will love your client above all things and come through the channel that comes.