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What are Your Customers Expecting of you via Social Media?

Customers expect the representative to be courteous and helpful when they walk up to a customer service desk in a retail store. Customers expect someone to answer and help them with their problem when they call a customer support hotline.  Customers expect a timely response when they send an email to a company asking for help.  As a company, you know about these expectations.  You put in place policies and train your employees to meet or exceed these expectations.  You know how important these interactions are for protecting your brand image and ensuring customer loyalty.

Customers expect a response within 2 hours when they tweet a question or complaint about your company on Twitter.  Customers will give you until the end of the day to respond on Facebook.  Have you planned and trained to meet those expectations?

47% of all social media users have used social media to contact a company about a customer service issue.  Given that Facebook alone recently passed 1 billion total users, this number is staggering.  Companies no longer have the choice of whether or not to engage customers on social media.  If a company is not there, then their customers are having a conversation about them without them.

You may have originally established your company’s Facebook or Twitter presence as a marketing avenue – a place where you could publish information about your company, and your customers could pass that information along to their friends.  But, the dynamic nature of social media is that consumers can also publish their own information about you.  If they tell their friends about their good experiences, they will also tell them about the bad.  How your company responds to social media requests is as important as how your representatives respond to telephone calls, emails, and in-person interactions.  The terms Social Care or Social Service are used to define this new and evolving customer service practice area.

B2B companies are not immune to this phenomenon. Intuit QuickBooks’ Facebook page is inundated daily by posts from users with a wide range of complaints and comments.  Intuit’s representatives follow good practices by replying quickly and courteously.  They refer to the person by name and sign their own name at the end, rather than from “Intuit” in general, which helps personalize the interaction.  They apologize for inconveniences and problems.  They sound knowledgeable and answer questions directly or refer the person to an article or user guide they might find helpful.  When necessary, they offer the person a direct phone number or email address to immediately resolve their problem, which takes the conversation offline and out of the public eye.

Over 58 percent of tweeters who have tweeted about a bad experience have never received a response from the offending company.  Do you know if your customers have tweeted about you and are still waiting for a response?  Are the Social Care policies you’ve put in place working?  Do your customers feel you are meeting their needs where and how they expect them to be met?

A customer service survey from NBRI is a tool to help you determine the effectiveness of your current Social Care practices.  An action plan, based upon the survey results, should be executed to improve your processes.  Then, we recommend that you resurvey periodically to gauge the effectiveness of your improvement initiatives and keep your customer service levels on track. Contact us today to get started.

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