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Improving Online Customer Service Through Social Media

As more businesses are focusing on online services and many startups are completely foregoing storefronts to work solely on the Internet, companies are looking for ways to provide quality customer service online.  While it is reasonably simple to create a positive customer experience during a face-to-face meeting or transaction, online customer service is a bit trickier.  Online companies are discovering the importance of responding quickly, offering a variety of communication methods, and tracking social media feedback.

The Importance of Customer Service

There is no question that customer service is critical to any business’s success, especially in today’s highly competitive economy.  Customers should be made to feel valued and that their opinions matter.  This is easily accomplished by providing friendly, helpful representatives and sales agents in storefronts and offices.  Greeting customers as soon as they walk in, offering coffee and and remembering people’s names and preferences are all part of making customers feel appreciated.  While this is not a challenge in a physical setting, how can online businesses accomplish the same goals?

Quality Customer Service Through Social Media

Social Media sites offer businesses a variety of customer service solutions, and the majority of people who are online have accounts on one or more of the major social media networks.  One of the most important parts of high quality customer service is providing quick responses and resolutions to customer’s problems and queries.  Social media sites allow companies to respond rapidly to customers via chat or personal messages.

While social media sites allow companies to communicate quickly and easily with their customers, it is important that businesses set up systems and protocols for responding to customers in a timely manner.  Without tracking systems to ensure rapid responses, customers may not get a reply for days or any reply at all.  Instead of making customers feel valued, long response times often lead to lost sales, and negative feedback.

Improving Customer Service Via Social Media Tracking

In addition to communicating with customers, social media aggregators allow companies to get a feel for how their products and services are faring with customers.  Social media tracking services can collect data from a number of social networking sites, blogs and forums where a company is mentioned.  This is data that normally requires extensive and costly market research, but aggregation tools provide this information in real time at a fraction of the cost.

In addition to monitoring customer responses and experiences, savvy businesses are going out of their way to reach out to unhappy customers, even if they did not contact the company directly.  This allows them to resolve a customer’s issue and possibly retain an unhappy customer.  Additionally, when businesses reach out to dissatisfied customers by replying to a forum post or on a customer’s profile page, they are displaying dedication to customer service in a public manner.  Many people are willing to work with a company that makes mistakes but is dedicated to customer satisfaction.
Developing an effective online customer service strategy requires creative use of social media networks.  However, by tracking customer feedback and responding to customers quickly and efficiently, businesses can garner more dedicated and happier customers.

Author Bio:-  George Lavant has a Masters in Digital Communication from the University of Washington and writes on behalf of Online Psychology Degree Programs. 

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