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Social service: how to provide excellent customer service online

Social service: how to provide excellent customer service online

Posted 11th April, 2019 by Michael

You’re probably aware of just how vital strong customer service is. If it’s good, it will have a huge impact on your online business – though it can be difficult to keep up with user demands. Failing to do this could make users feel alienated, or distrust your brand.

Fortunately, you already have access to a powerful customer service tool. More customers than ever are now turning to social media for support, making it the ideal place for brands to focus their customer service efforts.

In this post, we’ll explain the role of social media as a customer service tool. We’ll also discuss how to use it to interact with your audience effectively – let’s get to it.

What customer service looks like for an online business

As an online business owner, you should never undervalue customer service. Depending on the reach of your site, you could potentially be interacting with numerous clients or visitors every day. It’s just as important to provide strong support to these users as it would be in a retail store.

Although you may not have face-to-face contact with your users, social media is a great way to provide user support. This process is also known as ‘social service’.

This is the provision of consumer support through your different social media channels. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram give your users a consistent place to reach you – an important factor in the ongoing success of your site.

Why strong customer service is essential

When running a service of any kind, your visitors will expect to be able to contact you at any time. This is where social media really comes into play.

Providing strong customer service is essential, especially when looking to gain a positive user perception of your business. A social media profile filled with friendly responses to customer queries is a great way to build their trust.

Studies have shown customers spend 20 to 40 per cent more with companies that frequently engage with customers via social media. If you offer a product or service, taking the time to simply talk to your site visitors could mean a huge boost in conversion.

Good customer service may also increase the likelihood of your users leaving positive reviews. This greatly impacts the overall credibility of your site – according to research by Nielsen, 92 per cent of people will trust a recommendation from a peer.

The role of social media in customer service

As we reach the end of the twenty teens more and more customers are expecting and demanding instant responses from the companies they communicate with. Social media platforms make this possible.

In fact, these platforms are now known for their customer service abilities as much as their marketing potential. A recent study even found over a third of those surveyed preferred social media to traditional customer service methods, such as phone and email.

Utilizing these platforms can also save you money, as it can cost six times more to solve a customer issue through a call centre. In short, using social media is mutually beneficial to both you and your users.

How to provide excellent customer service in 2019

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, and check out four tips you can implement right now.

1. Prioritize your responsiveness

Above everything, your customers want fast answers to their queries – whether that’s advice on a product, or a response to a complaint. In fact, 60 per cent of users expect a response within an hour of reaching out to a business.

Responding in a timely manner lets your audience know that you’re listening. Plus, customers are more likely to spend more with businesses that respond quickly. You could also try taking the time to offer further advice.

For example, if a customer has a query about a particular hosting plan, don’t just answer the specific question – link out to other useful resources for further reading. If your budget allows for it, hiring a social media team could be a great solution. You could also utilize some lower-cost management tools.

2. Implement management tools

Super fast response times may seem a daunting prospect when you have a million other things to do. Fortunately, there are some useful tools to help automate the process.

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Social media management tools, such as Sprout Social, will enable you to schedule content, automate publishing, and manage campaigns. They’ll also usually provide detailed analysis of your social media, so you can deliver the most optimal posts.

However, as platforms continue to change, more brands are turning to alternate tactics. Making use of more modern methods can have a hugely positive impact on your overall customer service.

3. Utilise Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Tech is constantly evolving, so it’s important to adapt. Leveraging new developments could aid you in a number of ways, but can be particularly useful when considering customer service.

A report found that over 90 per cent of big brands use AI to provide customer service – particularly through the use of chatbots. These automated tools in this context are designed to process customer queries, and they’re easy to set up, although pretty pricey. Digital Genius is one of many available solutions.

However, while automation can deal with functional requests, there’ll be instances when you require a human approach. Users want to feel valued – and are unlikely to feel this way following a ‘robotic’ response.

4. Inject some personality

While answers to queries are important, sometimes all it takes is a friendly face – or tweet, in this case – to get people on board. Brand personality can be lost in business jargon, so taking a more personal approach is a great way to increase brand trust and credibility.

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There are a number of ways you can do this – always be friendly, and try adding humour through the use of GIFs. The Innocent brand’s Twitter account is a lesson on how to get things right. The company pairs genuine advice with relatable content – an approach that has generated a huge following.

It can also be as simple as treating every customer as an individual. Pay attention to the person you’re communicating with – use their name, and make note of any ‘regulars’. Taking these small steps could make a huge difference, and earn you a more loyal following.

Conclusion

Though it may initially seem a lengthy process, assessing your customer service strategy may have a huge impact on your business. Through the use of social media, you can create a platform for user queries – which could lead to higher conversion rates.

In this post, we identified four of the ways you can use social media to provide stellar customer service – let’s recap:

  1. Turn your focus to fast response times.
  2. Use tools like Sprout Social to automate the process.
  3. Implement chat bots or other automated AI tools.
  4. Add a human touch to build user trust.

Categories: Tips, Blogging, Small Businesses

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