Using Social Media as an Outlet for Customer Care
Matching customer expectations with brand goals is a necessary strategy to build customer loyalty and a profitable business. Comprehensive and engaging solutions which address customer needs is more important now than ever before. Your social media presence, and utilizing that forum to address issues in a timely manner, may be vital in carrying out your customer care plan and maintaining your customer base.
Social Media Done Wrong Hurts Your Reputation
It’s easy to see the numerous PR nightmares brands suffer when a viral video of poor customer service takes center stage; just look at what happened with United Airlines. While you cannot control what others post to their social media channels, you do have control over:
- Your customer service philosophy, training and execution
- Your response when your customer service expectations are not met by your team
While it is obviously better to have no customer service “snafus” to begin with, in the event of customer care missteps, little or no response on social media makes matters worse, potentially leading to costly reputation damage.
How to Do Social Media Right
There are endless approaches to building your brand and customer loyalty using social media, so there’s no formula or one-size-fits all strategy. However, in using social media to bolster your brand, you need to take the time to carefully craft the right foundation, message and team.
- Build a social care philosophy
- Take the time to identify the values, practices and outcomes you want to deliver to your customer and how you will use your social media platforms to project that message and attitude. Make sure every one of your team members knows your social care philosophy and how to follow it.
- Hire the right team
- A customer-oriented team is essential…and people who can follow a “I’m sorry to hear that” script are not enough.
- Integrate your customer care and social media practices into your core business
- Customer care delivered over social media isn’t just a show you are putting on (or at least it shouldn’t be). How you respond to your customers on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. should be a reflection of how customers can expect to be treated if they walk into a brick-and-mortar location or your administrative headquarters.
- Train professionals in how to act when things go wrong
- When your company experiences a “customer service fail,” making it right isn’t about apologizing, denying the incident or ignoring it. There’s a sweet spot of responsibility-taking that does not present legal liability issues + genuine concern for your customer’s experience that you need to hit to remedy the situation, keep the customer and avoid future liabilities.
- Stay current and relevant to your community
- Social media is not just an interactive billboard. Your customers expect you and your brand to contribute to their lives and their communities. Again, community involvement and real-life relevance is not just an act you put on. It’s got to be part of the way you do business.
When your company has a clear, executable customer care plan, when you financially contribute to local initiatives that matter to your customers, when your employees do something worth celebrating, use your social media and technology to showcase those events.
That’s how to use social media to build your brand and care for your customers.