How to Offer Outstanding Customer Service With Social Media Care
Many companies use social media as a way to increase brand awareness and drive sales, but few consider social media as a solution for their customer service. Social media is not a ‘set it and forget it’ marketing model, used as a soapbox to talk about your business. It is an ever changing community of thoughts, ideas, and opinions.
Negative opinions of your guests on social media could have a major impact on your business if left unresolved. There are huge risks for companies who are not listening for brand mentions via social media. Your guests are already talking about you, and it’s time to join the conversation.
According to NM Ignite’s social care report, 47% of all social media users have used social care for customer service issues, with usage as high as 59% among 18-24 year olds. Nearly 1 in 3 social media users prefer to reach out to a brand for customer service through a social channel compared to the phone.
Getting Your Hotel On Board with Social Care
The term “social care” has been dubbed by brands around the world as a form of customer service found on social media. There are many things to consider when creating an efficient social care program for your business. Because social media offers incredible transparency for a company, it’s important to have the necessary procedures and guidelines in place to effectively resolve issues with your guests.
Here are some tips to get you on the right track with social care:
Utilize a Social Media Listening Tool and Management Dashboard
It is recommended to have a social media listening tool that will listen for any comments or complaints about your brand across all social channels. Many tools offer a social media dashboard for content management with an integrated CRM (customer relationship management). Consider using Sprout Social or Radian6 for your listening and management.
Create a Clear Social Care Procedure
Many companies hire a community manager to handle the day-to-day activities for their social media marketing and social care. It is advisable to enforce a social care procedure in order to clearly define guidelines when dealing with disgruntled guests. An example procedure may include:
Listening for legitimate brand mentions
Evaluating each situation based on your customer’s needs and urgency
Resolving by responding to customer via approved social support channels
Target response and resolution time-frame
Set-Up Dedicated Support Channels
Although it’s always a good idea to maintain an open dialogue with customers, it can sometimes be difficult to keep them from complaining appropriately on public channels. It is recommended to set-up dedicated support channels to keep complaints off your social media timeline. Consider:
Creating an @[company]helps Twitter handle to keep all disputes off your timeline
Offer assistance by asking guests to email you via an email address like “care@[companyname].com” or “support@[companyname].com”
Offer clear customer support channels on your website to answer questions or complaints
What to Listen For
It can sometimes be difficult to listen for customer comments and complaints among the noise of social media. Automated listening is key to staying on top of mentions and responding accordingly. It’s recommended to set-up your social dashboard to search and listen for such mentions. Here are some search parameters you may want to consider adding to your listening tool:
Mentions of the brand i.e. Company Name, #CompanyName, @CompanyName, Product Name, #ProductName, ProductName
Mentions of the brand plus customer support related words, i.e. help, assistance, support, #fail
Accounts of hotel review sites, mentioning your brand
Although your business may have a handful of social media accounts, your guests may be using a whole range of platforms. Consider using a monitoring tool that will listen across a multitude of channels, including blogs and forums, for example Social Mention, Netvibes, and Google Alerts.
Just because your community manager works 9-5, it doesn’t mean that your customers will message you in that time-frame. Response time can mean the world to a customer, turning them from angry into an advocate. Customers love when brands respond to them in a timely and efficient manner on social media. It tells them that someone is really listening to their concerns, and in real-time.
Although it is recommended to respond as quickly as possible, most customers expect a response within the day. Set goals to respond within 24 hours, then try to exceed those goals as you progress with your social care. If possible, assign the role of social care to more than one member of your team in order to offer a full 24/7 response coverage.
Results You Can Expect
By implementing an efficient social care program, you can:
Turn disgruntled guests into brand advocates, promoting word-of-mouth advertising
Encourage repeat stays and sales
Build a competitive differentiator, putting your brand ahead of the rest
One Last Note
Remember to always follow-up with your guests to ensure they enjoyed their stay and that they received the service that they deserve. Consider setting up transactional emails with Mandrill for feedback after guests have finished their stay and when their social care issue has been resolved.