The internet really is both a blessing and a curse for modern-day businesses. On the one hand, they can easily reach their target customers, but on the other, should anything go wrong, the internet makes sure that everyone knows about it.
With the vast majority of businesses now using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to communicate with their customers, social media has become the go-to for customer service queries and in particular, for disgruntled customers to kick up a very public storm. So how do you provide good customer service to your customers on the internet?
Don’t Listen To Respond, Listen To Understand
All too often, customer service representatives listen to respond rather than to understand. What I mean by this is that they often seem as though they are looking for an easy way to soothe a disgruntled customer rather than really listening. The chances are, you’ve been a victim of this style of customer service – Just last week I picked up the phone to let Marks and Spencer know that the flowers they had sent my mother had been mishandled by the courier and therefore had arrived in a less than perfect condition. Rather than even hearing the end of my sentence, the customer service representative had already placed a replacement order. Although this was a practical solution to my issue, I did not feel listened to and therefore, did not feel satisfied. Even if you are handling customer service issues through social media, make your customers feel heard by asking if you can contact them directly by phone so that you can take the conversation offline and hear more about their issue.
Be Available When Your Customers Are
Social media and the internet has made customer service a 24/7 operation, and therefore it is now more important than ever to have systems in place that allow you to respond to complaints and queries no matter the day of the week or the time of day. One way that you could improve your availability is to add live support chat to your website. A live chat not only allows customers to reach you without picking up the phone but also enables you to respond to queries more efficiently before a disgruntled customer turns to your public-facing social media.
Be A Person, Not A Robot
Whether you are on live-chat or replying to messages on your social media, nothing feels more artificial than a script or a copy-pasted message. Responding to people as a person, rather than a robot, may take a little more time, but the quality of your customer service will improve dramatically as a result. When replying as a generic social media account, it always helps to put your name at the end of your response so that your customers can see they are speaking with an individual and your business feels more personable.
Taking the basics of good customer service and applying them to the internet isn’t rocket science and yet many businesses get it oh so wrong. If in doubt, always remember these three principles, listen, be available, and stay human.