Improve Your Brand With Better Customer Service On Social Media

Improved Customer SupportAs a brand, the last thing you want is a reputation for poor customer service. This goes beyond interactions in brick-and-mortar establishments, should they apply, and it absolutely applies to digital interactions. Today more than ever customers are reaching out via Facebook, Twitter and Yelp to ask questions and leave feedback, and the amount of digital exposure can be tremendous.

While you need to have this feedback on your radar, even more important is your response or lack thereof. To help guide you, we compiled a list of tips to keep your engagement train on the right track.

Respond to everyone, quickly

If a customer takes the time to leave a comment or ask a question, you need to respond to each and every one of them in a timely manner, Jayme Pretzloff, director of marketing for Minnesota-based Wixon Jewelers, says.

What’s the definition of timely? You should respond within 24 hours, but many brands respond faster than that.

No question is too mundane, either. Take a look at the Applebee’s post below. The restaurant recently encouraged customers to try its new Thai Shrimp Salad on Facebook. A customer asked, “Is it spicy?” and within minutes Applebee’s responded. Applebee's Quick Response

It turns out many brands strive for quick response rates. Take a look at this data compiled by Expion, a social media software company. Brands like KLM, the airline, have an average response time of 26 minutes on social media.

KLM's Quick Response Time

Noticeably absent: Comcast.

The takeaway message here is to respond to comments, questions and feedback as promptly as possible.

Increase engagement with quality content

Stellar customer service isn’t just about response time; it’s about creating a relationship. If you were dating someone new, you wouldn’t win him or her over by dominating the conversation with useless dribble. It’s the same on social media. You have to provide content that sparks conversation.

For example, grocery store Lunds and Byerly’s doesn’t just tweet a link to its weekly ad. The brand also tweets links to informative articles like this one that offers tips on gluten-free baking. Giving Customers What They're Looking For

Make sure your brand is offering content that goes beyond “look at this sale item” and is providing information that customers can use.

Solve a problem

Responding to comments is one thing, but taking the time to solve a customer’s problem takes your brand to another level. No one knows this better than Xbox.

Did you know that Xbox holds the Guinness World Record for the Most Responsive Brand on Twitter? (Yes, it’s a real record. Check it out.)

The gaming company’s “elite tweet fleet” works to solve technical problems (almost) around the clock. During the work week customers can get help from 6am-12am. On the weekends, tweets are answered between 9am-6pm. @XboxSupport is so popular with customers that the company had to start additional accounts to handle the overflow. Here’s a snapshot of a conversation on Twitter. Xbox Support

Your business might not be able to offer this level of support, but the idea is to help your customers when they need it.

Respond to negative reviews with tact

A negative review can be disheartening. No matter how great your brand, at some point, you’ll get a poor review. When it happens, Pretzloff says you should respond, not react.

“Don’t go off the deep end,” he says. “Give yourself time to breathe and think about the response. Business owners need to be sure to not lash out and go on the defensive, but to truly get to the root of the problem and understand why the client has had a bad experience.”

When McDonalds’ customers complain, the fast food giant responds quickly, apologizes for the inconvenience and encourages the customer to fill out a feedback form so the problem can be addressed. McDonalds Responds To Problems

What you don’t want to do is follow in the social media footsteps of Amy’s Baking Company. This restaurant, which was featured on Kitchen Nightmares, is renowned for its poor customer service skills. The owner grabbed national headlines for her extreme responses to customer feedback. Needless to say, you want to avoid a social media blunder like the one below. Any response that involves a lot of name-calling obviously isn’t the best way to respond to your customers. Amy's Bakery

Metrics to watch

If you follow these four tips, your brand will build a solid customer service reputation. You can keep an eye on your success by monitoring a few customer service related metrics, too

Conversation rate. This measures how many comments each of your posts earn.

Amplification rate. This measures how many times your posts are shared.

Applause rate. This measures how many people like your page or follow your account.

If you’re doing things right, these metrics should increase. It might take a little time to see significant changes, but these stats are good indicators of your customer service success.

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About Lisa Furgison

Lisa Furgison is a freelance journalist and co-owner of a media company, McEwen's Media. Find her on Twitter @lfurgison.

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