The Art of Customer Service
By Kyle Sherburne
Social media started out as a way to connect with friends through a digital network and nothing more. As time has progressed, social media has turned into a vital marketing tool that companies use to reach their customers. The key to having a positive consumer reaction about experiencing a company’s social media is through good customer service. Customer service can make or break a company’s chances of making a sale or losing a customer. Customer service through social media requires several components to be successful.
- First off, customer service must have a quick response time. If a customer asks a company a question through social media and does not receive a response, the customer will feel undervalued and worthless. This, in turn, will bring out a negative outlook on the company as a whole. I would say ninety percent of the time a short, simple, and quick response will both answer the customer’s question and give the customer a positive feeling about the company.
- Secondly, customer service needs to be friendly and light-hearted. It is ok to have some added humor in your posts and responses. This type of interaction gives your brand a fun personality and will bring customers in. Depending on your brand voice the content may vary, but humor, in whatever form it may take, is never a bad thing. GrubHub, for example, has an extremely funny brand voice and some people follow them just to read their humorous tweets.
- Lastly, customer service in social media needs to know how to respond to negativity. When there happens to be a negative comment or post about your brand it is better to try to resolve the problem with a transparent answer rather than ignoring it or deleting it. It goes back to the first rule of responding quickly and making the consumers feel valued. If you respond honestly and quickly in a way that tries to resolve the customer’s problem with your brand, the customer is most likely not going to respond again and be satisfied with the response. Most angry customers just want to be heard over social media, so if you respond to them transparently and quickly, then it will resolve the problem and help promote a positive brand image.
An example of bad customer service is with United airlines back in 2008. Passenger Dave Carroll was traveling with his band and his guitar was broken during his flight. It was an expensive Taylor brand guitar and United’s customer service was reluctant to do anything to compensate him for his loss. As a result, Dave launched a full-scale social media attack on United airlines and released a music video of a song he wrote called “United Breaks Guitars.” If the customer service department had been more understanding to the situation and done something to try to help Dave instead of deny him completely, then they wouldn’t have lost nearly as much money due to social media backlash. This just goes to show that every good company needs to have good customer service or eventually someone’s bad experience will go viral on the web.
Below is a link to the United Breaks Guitars video.