How Not to Do Customer Support Over Social Media

Business.com / Customers / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Despite the importance of customer interactions over social media, businesses continue to mess them up. Are you guilty of these mistakes?

Helpscout says that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved customer experience. Customer support is no longer a back-end operation, it has become imperative that every organization takes steps to build a customer-centric organization. In the same regard, more and more, companies are moving to social media to provide support to their customers.

As many as 67 percent of consumers have, at one point, used a company's social media account to ask for help. These trends speak volumes about the importance of having a real and well-defined strategy of providing support over social media platforms.

However, social media is not something you can approach without preparing yourself for dealing with customers online effectively. Interactions with customers over social media are just as real and important as in-person ones. In fact, since your social media interactions are more public and more permanent, they might even carry more weight.

Despite the importance of customer interactions over social media, businesses continue to mess them up. Here are six things you shouldn't do:

Related Article: How to Use Social Media for Customer Service

1. Make Them Wait

One of the major reasons consumers prefer social media over traditional support paths is because of the latter medium’s low response time. In fact, according to Convince&Convert, as many as 42 percent of consumers complaining over social media expect a reply within the hour. Keeping this in mind, one of the worst ways you could handle a customer seeking support over Twitter or Facebook is to give them a delayed response.

This is one of the major reasons why scaling customer support is hard over social media, since a lot of money is needed to provide support day and night and over the holidays (as consumers expect, according to the previously linked research).

Don't fret too much, though! You don't need to solve every problem immediately. Reassuring a customer that you're working on their problem is usually enough to garner loyalty them from.

2. Leave It to the Intern

It is imperative that you keep this in check. When starting out you might not see a lot of appeal in spending precious business hours on something that doesn't seem too important or, let's be honest, too difficult, but putting in a half-hearted effort isn't going to get you very far.

You might feel that social media isn't something you need to hire someone for or train an existing support representative to handle. Before anything goes wrong, I urge you to reconsider.

You see, there are a dozen ways a business can screw up over social media, especially when handling customers. Before you find yourself in a trap, hire someone who knows what they're doing (or train an existing employee). You'll be better off with this resource allocation.

3. Buy Fake Likes or Followers etc.

No. No. No. No. No. It saddens me that this is a big enough problem for me to list here, but businesses do it all the time. Just don't.

You might think that buying 500,000 fake followers for your company's Twitter account for $5 lends authority to your business. It doesn't. It makes you look like a cheap and a shady company to get in business with. You'll be doing more harm than good.

And don't think your potential customers can't tell (or don't check!). They can. If you have 5 million likes on your page but the picture you posted last week only got 13 likes, it's a blaring red flag.

4. Be Generic and Impersonal

I know my first point was having a professional, who knows what they're doing. But that doesn't mean that you have to be bland and boring.

People don't like generic and canned responses. And they can tell when they're being handled.

That being said, don't get too chummy. They're not your "bros" or a "dude," they're sir/ma'am, or just their name. Just don't hit them with canned responses—respond like you genuinely care.

5. Forget Them

This tidbit applies equally to other forms of customer support. Usually, when an instance of customer support doesn't solve the customer's problem, instead of waiting around for you to fix it one day, they simply leave.

Don't let this happen to you. After a customer contacts you with a problem and your support instance has reached a conclusion—successful or not, be sure to follow up with them. If the customer's problem was solved, you get to engage with a happy customer. In case it was an unsuccessful instance, you can look for other ways to solve their problems. All in all, you cannot go wrong with following up with a customer after they reached out to you.

Related Article: Customer Delight: The New Standard in Customer Service

6. Avoid Responsibility

Again, a piece of advice that applies to traditional customer support too. More so with social media, where everyone is watching. Once a customer reaches out to you with a problem, the first thing you need to do is own up to the problem, admit that something went wrong and you're working to fix it. Make sure you don't put the customer on the defensive.

@yaeltime Sorry to hear that! Send us a DM with the order number, and we can look into what happened.

Seamless (@Seamless) July 22, 2015

Conclusion

Social media provides a whole new opportunity for you to interact with your customer, and have it be a part of your marketing efforts. Avoid the above mentioned "dont's" of providing support over social media and you can use it to a great advantage for your business.

 

 

 

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