One of the toughest challenges that marketers around the world experience is retaining customers more than acquiring new ones. With so many players for a given product or service it is not difficult to see why retaining customers can actually cut down costs. Customers switch vendors for a variety of reasons, and the most common reason why they leave is poor “customer service” or more perfectly defined as after sales service.
Customer expectations can run high in terms of product and service performance which is understandable due to the high pitch sales in marketing. At the same time service companies are usually under pressure in moderating customer expectation by educating their customers. Since the traditional methods of educating customers is proving to be expensive and time consuming, there is an immediate need to find cheaper media to accomplish all that effectively. This is where social media comes in. Social media are inexpensive and have a mass reach because of its popularity.
Companies sticking to traditional selling method are fast switching to social media campaigns to sell their products and this is undeniable. It is estimated that by the end of 2012 at least 1 billion people will be using social media in one form or the other for all their information need. And the most vantage point therefore for providing better customer service is also the social media. Since social media is an open forum there are enough pitfalls that invite hostility from users. Any effort in the social media therefore has to be a pointed effort.
The social media itself has been undergoing constant changes and choosing the right social media is getting tougher day by day. If you plan to use social media as a customer service tool it is better that the task is left to professionals. Professionals can help you direct you energy in the right direction and with proper focus. They can help you reframe your approach should something go wrong or be out of context when it comes to customer service.
Social media is not a fit and forget strategy. It is mostly an ongoing effort. Studies indicate that companies and businesses often tend to ignore complaints emanating in the social media. More than 50% of the complaints in social media seem to go unnoticed by companies. It has also been reported that 71% of all complaints against brands are ignored. The social media is an opportunity for a small business entrepreneur like you to make a big difference by answering to the customer complaints. Remember a courteous answer with an honest explanation is often what customers expect and is also the beginning point for most to build up a loyal customer in the future.
Here are some tips you can try to build a better customer service through social media.
- If you already have social media presences then integrate it into your other customer function area as well. That will ensure you take an even approach to the overall effort.
- Build a human response system rather than one that depends excessively on automated systems. A human voice is what customers like to hear. They make far reaching impact in the minds of customers.
- Have a separate department in your company to monitors customer responses as they unwind. Time is usually the essence for retaining a solid customer base.
So there you have it, a few tips in ensuring a good quality social media customer service. I would like to reiterate that the key to a successful customer service is being honest with your customer.
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