Here at RingCentral, we participate in social networks primarily to provide customer care to our community. We listen through Twitter, Facebook, and other networks — and we’re happy to respond to your inquiries, feedback, and troubleshooting needs. We try our best to improve your experience, and we get by with a little help from the experts. These business luminaries provide great advice on delivering excellent social media customer care.
1. If you do just one thing, participate. Listening to what your customers are saying is a great first step, but to actually take full advantage of the power of social you need to participate, one-on-one, with your customers.”
2. Your best investment in caring for your customers is to be a good listener. Hop onto social media to hear what your clients and prospects are saying. Show empathy when it’s warranted to turn a sour situation into a win. Nurture your raving fans, and you may just never have to sell again!
–Denise O’Berry, Small Business Expert
3. Social media isn’t seen as a marketing strategy by your customer; it’s seen as an open door to communicate, voice opinions, ask questions and – especially – complain about your products and services. The means with which your company handles those requests in public can be the best marketing strategy you’ve ever deployed… or it can spell doom.
–Douglas Karr, CEO of DK New Media, Founder of Marketing Technology Blog, and Author of Corporate Blogging for Dummies
4. So many companies are diving into the social media space with the all-encompassing customer acquisition angle in mind. But social networks, especially platforms like Facebook, are opt-in channels where the audience must want to follow you. This is inherently a customer retention environment. Sure, you can gain customers through social channels, but if you’re not caring for the ones you have first, you’re missing the boat … and perhaps losing them while you’re at it.
–Jason Falls, CEO of Social Media Explorer
5. Whether your company likes it or not, customer service is now a spectator sport. Social media is the new telephone, and if companies in your category are assisting customers via social channels and your company is not, the perception is that you care less than they do. Rightly or wrongly, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of a real-time customer service arms race.
–Jay Baer, Social Media Keynote Speaker and Co-Author of The NOW Revolution
6. If your business is looking to add customer care to your social media plan, the very first thing you need to do is set the parameters of how you will deal with the requests. Spell out on your profiles the time available, type of assistance (if there are limitations) and include the names of any specific people monitoring the social media account (e.g., “monitored by Jane and Craig”) so that people can know who they are connecting with. On the back-end, your organization needs to be clear on how you will deal with both positive and negative comments. Have a strategy in place for how the support team will respond.
–Kathy Colaiacovo, Online Marketing & Social Media Consultant with Social 4 Business and Principal at Time on Task Virtual Assistant Services
7. For corporate brands using their social media presence to engage the public in a customer care capacity, the key to success is responsiveness, especially on Twitter. Honest feedback is a gift to a company. While no one likes to see unhappy customers criticizing their brand, one upset customer does not mean a crisis. Create a routine policy for how to respond to customer service challenges, so that your most outspoken customers do not get rewarded for taking their grief to Facebook. Remember, everyone likes free stuff. Keep in mind that if your company resolves things well, often the person with the issue will share how well they were treated, so this could be a great way to build goodwill and customer loyalty.
–Melinda Emerson, President of MFE Consulting, SMB Expert, and Author of Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months
8. If you are investing in social media for marketing or outreach, then you also need to invest in social media for responding to customers – both in terms of customer service and in responding to comments, both positive and negative. You have to be active and engaged – it can’t just be a ‘dip in and dip out’ activity.
–Rhonda Abrams, USA Today Columnist, CEO of The Planning Shop, and Author of Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth