The staffing shortages caused by “The Great Resignation” and mounting supply chain crisis may mean a new influx of unhappy customers. And they’re taking to social media to get immediate answers. According to Hootsuite’s 2022 Social Trends Survey, 59% of marketers agree that social media customer care has increased in value for their organization over the past 12 months. Do you have a plan for social media customer care that ensures your customers get the very best experience even during an apocalypse? Whether or not your business is directly impacted by a staffing shortage or delayed shipping, consumers will be more on edge than ever, and here’s how you can start the season ahead of your competitors:
Today’s consumers demand transparency, and one of the easiest ways to build trust is to clearly define a customer service standard and honestly communicate with your community. If spreading salt is part of your service package, and salt shipments are delayed, set the correct expectation from the start, offer a solution, and continue to share updates. If you have the bandwidth, a friendly phone call to your loyal customers is great, but posting to your social media channels is mission-critical. Customers are increasingly relying on social media for the most up-to-date information. If you offer free cancellation with 24 hours’ notice, say that. If a customer service representative is available 24/7, say that. If you’re closed for a holiday, say that. Not only does it set the expectation, but the more you can publicize your high service standards, the more potential new customers will trust you!
In addition to regular policies and unforeseen supply delays, this also applies to service issues within your control. No matter how well you manage staff, schedules, and client expectations, something will always go wrong, especially as we head into cold and flu season. Even if you’re overstaffed, three employees could call in sick the same day. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan, like contract workers you can call in a pinch. Reaching outside your regular team could compromise quality, so a better idea might be to communicate extended windows based on seasonal demand. This prepares your customers in advance, so they can make adjustments to their own schedules or operations as needed. No matter what’s going on, tell your customers.
When it comes to your business, you can do anything, but you can’t do everything! Too often, businesses favor operations over customer service, and it shows in their reviews. Find an employee who can manage your social media or even consider hiring a social media expert who can implement your policies, communicate regularly with users, and keep the online conversation positive. Customer service is one of the few things that sets similar businesses apart, so it’s worth the investment to make that part of your business as strong as it can be. You can find a great pool of contractors experienced in social media by posting on platforms like UpWork.
First, examine who you are as a brand and how that should come through in your customer service responses. A good place to start is with three words that describe your company. If you’re helpful, relatable, and funny, make sure that comes through on social media. For example, if you’re late for an appointment, an appropriate response to an angry review or comment may be: We understand that when we’re late, you’re late. Even when s**t happens, you’ve got s**t to do, which is why we send text updates as soon as possible to ensure you can plan accordingly. For the inconvenience, we’d like to offer 20% off your next snow removal and a complimentary salt spreading. Thank you for letting us know about your experience, so we may continue to improve our scheduling and notifications! It’s funny and relatable, but, more importantly, solution and value oriented.
Pro tip: never apologize. It’s too easy to sound defensive. It’s best to empathize with the situation and solve it, rather than excuse your mistake. Do the same for all your most common customer issues, and you’ve built an easy-to-follow community management plan!
Unless you have 24/7 customer service capabilities, you’ll need to outline the expectations for response time based on the type of customer inquiry. Complaints are typically the highest priority because the user is fired up and ready to tell everyone and their mother about the problem. Other types of comments can wait up to 24 hours for a response, such as positive reviews, general inquiries, and critiques or suggestions that don’t require immediate assistance. Simply assign different types of comments a severity level (high, moderate, or low), then determine the appropriate response time your team can manage. Then, don’t forget to tell your customers what to do: We respond to all direct messages within 24 hours. For a quicker response, please call us!
Trolls will be trolls. If a comment is false, derogatory, or inflammatory, you can expect even the most carefully-crafted and positive response to spiral. The safest way to handle heated comments is to take the conversation offline: We’d like to hear more about your experience, please email us at [email protected]. This gives you the opportunity to resolve the issue privately. If you’ve done your due diligence, and they continue to post negative comments, you can confidently hide, block, or even escalate the issue to the platform’s moderators. Not every fight is worth fighting, especially with the false confidence that comes with online anonymity. Take the high road, and you’ll always come out on top!
Don’t underestimate the power of great customer care on social media, and, when in doubt, transparent communication is your best option.
Posted on December 15, 2021
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