4 Ways to Get Good Social Customer Service

July 3, 2013

Donna Gurnic is Market Development Coordinator here at CTS Service Solutions. 

Social media has proven to be an effective tool to help consumers communicate with companies. We’ve seen a couple get a quick home loan approval and a man get his iPad back.

Unfortunately, the more widespread the use of social media for customer service becomes, the more it is misused by those who have forgotten the basics of being a good customer.

As social customers, we need a set of ground rules to guide us when we log on to get a company’s attention online.

It Begins with a Service Failure

Many social customer service interactions begin when something goes wrong.

For instance, let’s say your wireless Internet connection frequently drops off, and you call your cable company to report the problem. After two separate appointments with a technician and three phone calls to customer service, your Internet connection is still not fixed, and you can’t afford to waste any more time.

The Crucial MomentGood Social Customer Service

Before you hop onto Twitter, Yelp or Facebook, know that the decision to go public has many layers. In some cases, using social media first is the best option. In most cases however, using social media to communicate a customer service problem is a last resort.

If and when you decide to reach out via social media, you have some basic options:

  1. Tweet the company
  2. Post to the company’s Facebook wall
  3. Blog about your experience
  4. Post a video to YouTube, Google Plus or another social channel

You want to choose the right channel to ensure your message does not get lost. Take a moment to survey the responsiveness of each of the company’s social accounts. Do they respond to Tweets, Facebook posts or Google+ posts? Are they involved in community forums? Once you have decided, try to find the person or support team who can handle your issue directly.

 4 Ways to Get Good Social Customer Service

Use these tips to help make your outreach through social media more effective:

1. Use Tact.
Venting, cursing or name-calling will not help you, and you risk being ignored. Instead, give the company something they can work with and stick to neutral comments. For example:

“Simply need my @AcmeCable modem replaced and a credit for repeated trouble”

“Cannot get a solution to my @AcmeCable Internet problem”

“@AcmeCable CustServ cannot resolve issue with faulty modem, please help”

2. Use Specifics.
Customer service representatives cannot read minds, so explain exactly what you need and when you need it by. If your situation is complicated, an email may be the proper channel to use. Keep it simple and leave no room for misinterpretation.

3. Be Fair.
Be conscious of your tone and approach toward the company. If they respond to your message and they are making an effort to fix your problem, give them a chance to make it right before escalating the issue further.

4. Be Careful.
This guideline is the most important because your online comments can follow you for a long time. If it’s a popular site, it might make it to page 1 when someone Googles your name. A complaint against a company might be one of the first things a potential client or employer sees about you online. You should be careful what you say.

In customer service when conventional methods fail, social media can be your friend if you treat it with respect. Sometimes reaching out to a company through social media is your best option, so keep these tips in mind when you compose the message.

And by the way, if you succeed in using social media to get help from a company, thank them! Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+ are great places to express your gratitude for a job well done.

1 thought on “4 Ways to Get Good Social Customer Service”

  1. Great advice, but I would say social media should be a last resort ONLY after all areas have been covered and never a first resort unless there is no other way to contact the company online. Your example of the failed internet service is very useful, but the customer likely also has the ability to email the company’s head office or even use Facebook’s messaging feature to privately send their complaints to the company. Public posts to the company’s page are very useful but too often customers tend to use them in an attempt to shame the company rather than try to get anything productive done about their situation.

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