Social Media Customer Service: Harder Than It Looks



Maybe you’re hoping to recruit top-of-the-line talent using your social media platforms, or maybe you want to have an online presence for potential customers to find and know you’re out there. Maybe you want both: who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

There are many reasons to be on social media, as most good marketers know, but the key is to find out your brand’s reason. One of the big motivators for corporations and mammoth brands to invest an extraordinary amount of money into social media is to provide better customer service, which social media makes possible.

If great customer service and individual help is something that your heritage brand prides itself on, there is no better way to serve those customers in this day and age than on social media. As The Huffington Post shared, social media is the new “employee of the month” when it comes to customer service. Take brands, like @JetBlue for instance, who will respond to tweets about delayed flights by looking up information and tweeting back when it’s scheduled for takeoff. If you have a problem with a Wells Fargo account, just send them a tweet and they’ll respond with a phone call. It’s instantaneous, easy for customers to understand, and helps brands serve their clients better than ever before. What’s not to love?

Although the advantage of having great customer service on social media is a simple fact, it is quite a bit harder than it looks. For one thing, it requires a minute-by-minute surveillance to make sure that time is of the essence and complaints are responded to as quickly, if not more quickly, than they would be when the customer calls in by phone. Jayson deMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, says that “the biggest mistake is simply failing to monitor reviews in the first place.”

But, not everyone is prepared to offer customer service on social media.  In fact passionate business owners and marketers may not be equipped to handle customer service complaints through social media. The best example of this is the brand meltdown that occurred in Scottsdale Arizona after the online vitriol became too much for the owners of Amy’s Baking Company: “I AM NOT STUPID ALL OF YOU ARE. YOU JUST DO NOT KNOW GOOD FOOD.”

While this situation deteriorated pretty quickly and unbelievably, the point remains: it can be difficult to hear criticism and complaints and not respond emotionally to something that you’re passionate about. For negative feedback, which can and probably will happen on social media, it’s true that a trained professional will always be better equipped to deal with the problem in a timely, sensitive, and brand-cohesive manner. If anything, another set of eyes is a good idea with both positive and negative online feedback.

If only it were easy to quickly and calmly resolve every customer service complaint on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Yelp, and other social media platforms. The truth of the matter is that it’s harder than it looks, and professionals do it the best. But, it’s worth the time and effort, and your customers will appreciate a brand willing to go above and beyond to provide them with a positive experience.



Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Andrew and Annemarie

About the author: Catherine Walsh

Catherine is Editor at Social Media Contractors. She graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where she earned her B.A. in English and M.A. in English, specializing in Rhetoric and Composition/Ethnography.

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