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Customer care on social media is the new marketing. Delivering excellent customer service helps in maintaining good rapport with the customers. The satisfied customer in return refers to his colleagues, relatives, and friends. It amplifies the customer base and opens up a seamless communication mode as stated by Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, in a Forbes interview:
“We're in the midst of a gigantic transition, where customers have incredible power as a result of transparency and word of mouth. It used to be that if you made a customer happy, they would tell five friends. Now with the megaphone of the internet, whether online customer reviews or social media, they can tell 5,000 friends”.
Customers who have regular interaction with the representatives on social media get their issues resolved quickly. For this reason, 67% of the customers use social networks like Facebook and Twitter for the fastest and effective resolution.
Although social media is a good platform for the two-way communication process, it sometimes becomes a ranting ground for negative customers. They write feedback, which creates a bad image of the company.
So what are the necessary steps you can take if a customer posts a negative comment?
Negative comments on social media cannot be prevented but it can be handled with an intelligent and interactive conversation. You can follow some of the essential steps:
Keeping an eye on every conversation on social media is important. Some customers are used to post a negative comment in a subtle manner which often gets unnoticed. It can be emojis which looks deceiving and harmless. If read carefully you understand the negative message which the customer wants to convey. You will have to address the issues of these customers on a priority basis by understanding their point of view and ask as much as questions to understand the difficulties which they faced. It’s always better to empathize with the customer and avoid trying to prove him wrong. A dissatisfied customer has to be handled carefully as further negligence or miscommunication can escalate the problem.
JetBlue, an American low-cost airline, closely monitors its customer’s posts. It quickly responds to its customers who are dissatisfied with their service. They even keep track of the customers who talked about the brand but didn’t tag in the post. JetBlue’s social media team not only tracks and monitors the keywords but also hashtags, which helps in finding and responding to customers.
All the customers appreciate it when the representative understands the real problem which they are facing. You have to be in the customer’s shoes to understand:
a) What is bothering them?
b) Why are they behaving negatively?
Many customers when angry, vent out their frustration on any person associated with that company. The first point of contact is a customer care representative. For this reason, the representative has to be careful and patient while interacting with such customers. They can create an environment which will lead to a healthy discussion with the customers, where each party will try to understand the other party’s issues. This can boost a customer’s trust in the company as he will think that the representatives are willing to work on the issue.
Walmart, an American retail giant, sees complaints very often but it tries to respond to the customers as friendly and professional. They make a point to work with customers to resolve their issue by listening and understanding their problem.
The best step a customer care representative can take is to apologize for any inconvenience caused by the company. There are cases where the customer is wrong, but still, he will be blaming the company’s services. In this scenario also the representative has to keep his cool and apologize on behalf of the company.
Apologizing to the customer breaks the ice and bridges the gap between the customer and representative. It paves the path for starting a fresh communication where both the parties will listen to each other with an open mind.
When you are in business for a long time, you become aware of the common complaints which the customers will be speaking about. A common script can be made by understanding their similar needs and while sending it can be tailored as per the requirements of the customer and social media channel.
The customer should not know that the representative has used a common script; otherwise, they will feel neglected. The common script for the complaints has to be modified as per the media channel as each channel has a certain space limit.
The frequent complaints, one gets from the customer is that they are not getting a satisfactory response from the customer care representative. This happens as the representatives themselves do not have thorough knowledge about the product
An established company has various product lines and services which are promoted on different channels to get the required responses. The customer care representative needs to have detailed knowledge of that particular product for which they are handling complaints. When they have more knowledge about the product, it becomes easier to communicate with the customers. The specialist customer care representative will be able to give an appropriate response to all the complaints.
If you are facing any issue in service and are aware of it, announce it beforehand to avoid getting bombardment with complaints. The customer care representatives cannot handle all the complaints if there is a major problem. On social media you can reach your customers in a few minutes, so announcing on this platform makes the task easier for the representatives.
For example, Seamless, a North American online food service company is highly active on Twitter. If you want to view their website, but it is down their social media team will let everyone know on Twitter when it will be up or they are working on it to make it live as fast as possible.
It is necessary to respond to all the negative comments on social media. This convinces the customer that the company needs genuine feedback from the users and are professional about their business. Sometimes wherever required involvement of high-level executives makes a good customer service experience as the consumers feel that the upper-level executives also care about the customer experience. When an important company personality answers any feedback, the customer feels special. Few of the queries being answered occasionally by the upper-level executives do make a huge difference and has a huge impact on customer’s mind.
Negative customers can be converted to loyal customers if good customer service is provided. Companies have various approach to provide their style of customer service on social media and the unique one stands out. Customers feel they are special as the representatives are investing their valuable time to make them happy. This acts as a catalyst for a long-term customer relationship.