5 Tips For Improving Your Customer Service Through Social Media

By on November 20, 2012

If your company doesn’t view social media strategy as an opportunity to enhance your customer service, then you’re missing out. Companies like Ford and Best Buy are leaving you in the dust in the way they interact with their customers online.

Don’t be discouraged; you shouldn’t feel bad about this phenomenon. Rather, look at the communication strategies of top companies as a way to learn how you should be running social media.

How can social media actually be used to enhance your customer service? Let’s take a look at a few corporate examples that should show you how you can better handle your social media.

First, let’s look at Ford – yes, the Ford. One of the world’s largest motor companies is not above Facebook and Twitter. In fact, it embraces the platforms so much that it makes an effort to respond to all social media inquiries within four hours – yes, four hours. Now that’s dedication.

We can also look at Best Buy. Best Buy’s @Twelpforce Twitter account responds frequently to problems people are having with their technology. If you want to see how well it works, give them a tweet, and see how you like their response.

Here are a few more tips for improving your customer service through social media as Ford and Best Buy have done:

1. Respond to all inquiries. Yes, it might sound like a lot of labor, and it can be. But it means you get a lot in return. Particularly, you get a great reputation as a company that knows how to communicate. Ford’s efforts along this vein have made it seem like a forward-thinking company that “gets” the digital age.

2. Use communication effectively. Updating your Twitter account regularly does not show that you’re an effective communicator. At worst, it shows that you’re simply a frequent communicator. Make an effort to have your tweets and status updates actually provide value, particularly if you’re responding to someone.

3. Be open about problems. If someone buys your product, has

a problem with it, and never gets a responsefrom you on social media because you don’t want to advertise a product problem, you seem distant. If you’re open about the problems and offer solutions, people will believe that your product may be worth buying and that the risk in buying it isn’t as bad as buying from the other guys. You’re essentially adding “free support” to your product’s sales pitch without having to make the guarantee.

4.  Use humor whenever appropriate. Taco Bell’s Twitter account is famous for this; it puts a human spin on a large, corporate fast food chain. In essence, people think that Taco Bell can laugh at itself and with others – and people like that.

5. Make social media an alternative your customers like. When Xbox started helping customers via social media, they found that many people preferred that form of communication to traditional customer service methods. It allowed them to help more people while getting more publicity as they did it. In essence, Xbox discovered that not only do people like receiving help via social media, but also, with social media, other people see those efforts more clearly.

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Chris Turberville-Tully works at Sunrise Software, providing IT help desk software, whether for customer service or for business process management.  They also offer implementation, consultant, training, and support services.

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