When it comes to taking care of your business, one of the keys is making sure that your customers are satisfied. Successful customer service is essential, and one way you can improve your ability to respond to customers is to use social media.

Where Are Your Customers?

The first step is to figure out where your customers are when they use social media. Most brands have a Twitter presence and a Facebook presence since many people already use these platforms. But it also doesn’t hurt to use Instagram and Pinterest as well. Twitter, however, is probably the most-used platform when it comes customer service requests via social media.

Pay attention to where your customers congregate, and make sure you have a presence they can follow. Some brands even create separate accounts, particularly on Twitter, to deal with customer support issues. This can make sense if you handle a large number of requests, and if you are clear about letting customers know where they can go for help.

Monitor Your Social Accounts for Customer Service Requests

Once you have determined that you want to handle some customer service needs via social media, it’s important that you monitor your accounts and watch for requests. This is especially important because many customers expect a fast response when they make requests on social media. A recent study indicates that 53% of consumers expect a brand to respond to a tweet within an hour. When a complaint is involved, the number of customers expecting a Twitter response inside an hour jumps to 72%.

If you want to provide the best customer service possible on social media, you need to be ready to respond. Assign people you trust to monitor accounts and at least respond quickly with an acknowledgement. Then, it’s possible to send additional information.

You can provide a specific link for the customer to follow for more information, or you can also ask the customer to privately message you with a phone number so that a member of your team can call to resolve the issue. Making sure you offer helpful information and provide a fast response are the most important aspects of providing good customer service via social media.

Be Careful About What You Say

No matter how you handle a situation, it’s important to be careful about what you say, and make sure you have a team that you can trust to handle situations correctly. Whether or not the customer is right, you need to ensure that interactions with your brand are professional — and that you don’t have a problem with them being made public.

Once you share something online and respond to a complaint, what you say remains forever. Even if you delete the tweet or Facebook post, there is a good chance that someone has already taken a screenshot. You don’t want to descend to the level of a troll, especially online, because that can damage your brand image. Even though you want to respond quickly, you also don’t want to respond rashly. Be careful about what you say, and try to protect the privacy of your employees and customers alike.

Many customers today expect to be able to reach brands using social media. You need to be there for your customers, but make sure you follow best practices as you interact.

Best known as an Entrepreneur and Connector. John was recently named #2 on Top 50 Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine as well as a blogging expert by Forbes. He is the Founder and CEO of Due.

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