Ten ways to use social media to improve your customer service

Hands pressing screenSocial media enables you to engage with your customers as never before. Hearing what they say about you can be an invaluable tool, but how can you make the most of customer feedback?

  1. Connect with your customers. You may already have a Facebook or Twitter profile for your personal use, but create a social networking profile for your business to connect directly with your customers.
  2. Get blogging. Use a blog platform such as Wordpress to update clients and suppliers with the news from your business. You could also add a forum to your website to get customers sharing their experiences. Comment on other people’s blogs or start a discussion thread in an online networking forum.
  3. Encourage feedback. Encouraging and acting on feedback allows you to tailor your product or service to your customers’ needs. Use www.twtpoll.com to create a poll for your Twitter followers, or even ask your Facebook friends to become a ‘fan’ of your page and comment critically on your product.
  4. Respond to the feedback. Note down feedback from all social media accounts. Log suggestions separately from complaints. Complaints are your priority, so set up a policy to deal with them swiftly and efficiently. Use suggestions to generate ideas to improve your product or service.
  5. Monitor feedback online. You must remain aware of what people are saying about your business elsewhere on the internet. Use search engines or tools such as Google Analytics to find reviews of your business.
  6. Keep an eye on the competition. Many sectors have consumer review sites where customers are encouraged to share their experiences. Scan these regularly to see what customers are saying about you — and your competitors. If all your rivals seem to have special offers, it might be worth considering launching one, or you could miss out on custom.
  7. Deal with negative feedback promptly. The more engaged you are, the less likely you are to have an online PR disaster. Investigate any complaints thoroughly and contact the customer directly to apologise or offer a solution if it is your fault.
  8. Note what your customers want. If similar queries come up regularly, look at how they can be avoided by changing your processes. If this is not possible, add a ‘FAQ’ section to your website to answer regular queries.
  9. Change your customer service. Ensure that the person responsible for your customer service has access to your social media profiles. Pass good feedback on to the relevant team members.
  10. Communicate changes to your employees. Some employees may not be comfortable with social networking, but explain to them the advantages of having an active online business presence. Train them to use social media, and set out a clear policy for anyone using ‘official’ Facebook or Twitter accounts.

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