In an age where social media is a key mode of communication, a single bad customer review can spiral into a customer service nightmare. Despite the risks, however, social media also presents an enormous potential for word-of-mouth marketing. By providing consistently good service, you can increase positive reviews and build a strong social media presence.
Once upon a time, customer service departments could legitimately ignore social media without doing damage to their business; that time has passed. Global social media use is widespread and growing — as of June 2015, Facebook alone saw 1.49 billion active users per month — and businesses that ignore social channels may lose out on invaluable customer recommendations. After all, personal social media reviews are crucial to the purchasing process. A 2015 Crowdtap survey found that 87 percent of car buyers are extremely or somewhat influenced by comments and reviews by friends on social media.
For the most part, companies cannot control what customers post online. Assuming that products and services remain unchanged, customer service is the only variable that companies can influence. By finding ways to provide good service, both online and off, you can boost the likelihood that your customers provide positive, organic reviews on social media.
The Internet is one of the most important customer service realms for modern businesses. Start by updating your website and online profiles to answer basic questions and provide helpful resources that help customers solve problems on their own. For situations where a call or email is necessary, make the process easier by placing key contact email addresses and phone numbers in a highly visible location on your contact page.
If you choose to invest in a social media-based service platform, dedicate the manpower and resources needed to create a fast, responsive system. Because Twitter and Facebook interactions are often visible to the public, conversations are never limited to two parties. When you train and empower your service staff to handle negative situations quickly and satisfactorily, you increase your chances of positive reviews — even from people who have not yet purchased your products or services. After all, it takes just a few seconds for a user to retweet on or share a service response that they find impressive.
Offline customer service is equally important. With the widespread availability of video and audio capture and sharing technology, offline interactions can make their way to social media sites in minutes. Comcast learned this lesson the hard way in 2014 when an unhappy customer recorded a shocking service call with Comcast and shared it online, causing a public relations nightmare for the communications company. To avoid similar embarrassment, your service must be excellent across all channels, from phone calls to in-person appointments. Employees should view every customer interaction as an opportunity to provide great service.
Offering solid customer service across all channels is the most reliable way to inspire your customers to provide positive reviews on social media. Great basic service keeps customers happy and satisfied, and they are more likely to offer personal recommendations to friends and contacts.
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