by Patricia Bleck
In business, the customer is king. Using social media for customer service, business brands can build improved customer relationships, increased brand awareness, and positive brand perception.
Social media is the perfect channel for providing helpful, up-to-the-minute customer service. Although businesses use social media as a two-way street in communicating with all audiences, it can be especially helpful in communicating with customers.
Your business can benefit from using social media to communicate with customers in the following ways:
- Build customer awareness & trust by sharing your own content
Share your business news with customers by announcing good news, such as product introductions, new hires, and rebates. Customers will become more aware of your business brand and your products & services. They may even respond by making inquiries or placing additional orders.
Social media can also be used to announce bad news and to mitigate its effects. Customer concerns about website shut downs, product recalls, and delays can be allayed by a diplomatic, competent social media manager. Be transparent and respond quickly in the event of negative news or feedback to build customer trust.
- Build relationships & loyalty by sharing your customer’s content
Highlight your customers by liking, pinning, and otherwise sharing their content on your business social media sites. You will be creating a multitude of valuable digital connections. In addition, you will be sending a message that you value your customer and their products or services. This is a form of social proof, in which you are implicitly demonstrating that you are endorsing your customers.
You can also build loyalty by following your customer’s social media sites. When you follow them, their content has a better chance of showing up in your news feeds. The more you know about your customers, the better you will be able to serve their needs.
- Develop and reinforce positive customer relationships
Social media can positively reinforce business relationships. This is the most valuable thing social media can do for your brand. You want your customers (and actually everyone you come into contact with) to know that they are important to you. Provide valuable content on a consistent basis and be available to interact with customers to send the message that relationships are important to you. Staying present and active in the social space tells your customers that you want to be in touch.
I like to think of the digital space as a place that parallels our physical world. In our physical world, it would be nearly impossible to be physically present to all of your customers. Using social media however, your company can be in touch with many more people in the digital space. Although there is no replacement for in-person interactions, social media has the potential to quickly develop and reinforce many more customer relationships.
- Quickly respond to customer concerns
Customers can contact your business directly via social media and get an immediate response. This can be very reassuring when customers are having trouble getting through on the phone lines, for instance. Often social media serves as a back-up or handles the overflow of customer questions and complaints during especially busy periods. Seasonal businesses especially benefit from the addition of social media to their customer service offerings.
Many consumers view social media sites as the preferred initial point of contact. In these cases, customers avoid the traditional customer service phone lines altogether. Competent social media managers quickly respond to customer questions and concerns, offer solutions and next-steps, and provide helpful resources. In fact, positive interactions on social media can turn a negative customer into a brand advocate.
Remember the customer is king – consider using social media to provide helpful, up-to-the-minute customer service. Your business will benefit from improved customer relationships, increased brand awareness, and positive brand perception.