Social Customer Service

How Responding to Customer Reviews Can Benefit Your Business

Do you know you need to improve your approach to customer service, but it just keeps falling lower on your to-do list? Well, it’s time to reconsider the importance of customer service to your bottom line. According to a report by Harris Interactive in 2010[i], 86% of customers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer service experience, up from 59% four years ago. Poor customer service is a common problem that can greatly affect revenue.

So how do we fix our customer service issues? With attentive, interactive customer service through social media. Social media like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, YouTube, and Google Places influences most of the internet population, and you may lose current and potential customers if you improperly manage your social media accounts. In fact, 55% of consumers expect a response the same day to an online complaint – yet only 29% receive one[ii]. Social customer service is your arsenal to respond to online comments and complaints, showing that you listen to your customers while promoting good will about your brand. Unsatisfied customers need closure and satisfied customers need to know they are appreciated. Please all of your customers through social customer service.

93% of social media users believe a company should have a presence in social media.

85% of those users believe a company should interact with their customers.

Social Media is King

Social media is the new way for customers to communicate with businesses. But it’s taken quite a while for businesses to catch on. In a Cone Communications study in 2008, 93% of social media users believed a company should have a presence in social media. 85% of which believed that the company should interact with their customers.[iii] Four years later, and companies are finally realizing the value of an attentive social media customer service campaign.

Customers tweet or post about brands, products, experiences, and give recommendations with serious effects. In a survey by Convergys Corp, one negative review or comment on Twitter, Facebook or Youtube can cause a company to lose up to 30 customers[iv]. How can a company fight that kind of impact? Whether the posts are positive or negative, companies must respond. In fact, 58% of people said if they tweeted about a bad experience, they want the company to respond to their comment.

 

38,000,000 people in the US age 13 – 80 said their purchasing decisions are influenced by social media, a 14% increase in the past six months.

-          Knowledge Networks,
June 2011

Customers expect some interaction, especially if they promote your brand name. 44% of Twitter users have recommended a product and 46% of Facebook users say they would discuss or recommend a product[v]. Still don’t think social media is important? Well, in a recent survey by aytm, 63% of Twitter users follow accounts run by businesses[vi]. Social media is the new business critic, and neglected negative posts could leave you with fewer customers and fewer dollars. Pay attention to your customers so they know you view them as people, not profit. Be attentive by implementing a social customer service plan.

Establishing a Social Customer Service Plan

So how does social customer service benefit your company? For one, social customer service accumulates positive reviews through satisfied clientele. Thank your current customers and they may recommend you. Most businesses thank their customers through deals and offers, along with the simple “thank you” on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Although we must be concerned about the unsatisfied customers, we must always remember the happy ones. Satisfied customers provide positive reviews, which generate more revenue for you!

Five More Reasons for a Social Customer Service Plan

Social customer service comforts loyal and new customers, but that is not all! There are six additional reasons why your business needs a social customer service plan.

  1. Maintain the credibility of your brand name
    Customers research businesses before purchasing products or services for the first time. Negative comments on your social media or review pages startle consumers and create a detrimental first impression of your brand. Avoid the impact of the criticism by communicating with unsatisfied customers.
  2. Show customers you listen
    Boost your online presence through successful interaction with unsatisfied customers. Interaction shows that you care about customer issues. Also, reward customers for posting positive reviews so they feel appreciated.  Interaction with unsatisfied customers shows that you’re willing to fix any issue that has or will occur. Interaction with satisfied customers shows that you’re grateful for their business.
  3. Anyone, on any site, can destroy your reputation
    Your business can suffer greatly if one person has a negative experience with your company, especially if they confront the issue through blogging or social media. Social media is viral, and one comment can lead to others agreeing with the customer, resulting in a poor image of your company. Companies shouldn’t want to lose the reputation they put effort in to establishing. Social customer service can settle conflicts with upset customers and possibly persuade them to change their negative comment into a positive one.Keep in mind that there are customers who enjoy being angry, and your company could be subject to unfair judgment or overreaction. Companies should not lose potential clients because of a handful of biased judgments. Addressing biased comments quickly helps your company avoid fallout from untrue, negative posts. Responding to unsatisfied customers shows your current and potential audience that you want to satisfy their needs.
  4. Potential customers use local searches to find worthy businesses
    Positive reviews attract customers, and effective social customer service encourages positive reviews. Social review sites rank business listings by the number of positive reviews the business has. Businesses with the most positive reviews are listed first in the results. According to an article on Search Engine Land[vii], “about 49% of local consumers are more likely to use a local business having read a positive review online.” Therefore, you must interact with satisfied and unsatisfied customers to obtain more positive reviews and more revenue.Positive reviews also influence other customer decisions. Today, customers are relying on other customer experiences to determine if they should visit a local business. In fact, 90% of consumers online trust recommendations from people that they know, with 70% trusting the opinions posted online by unknown users[viii]. This means you must reward those customers who have posted positive reviews because they influence the rest of the online world.
  5. Social media sites are used for recommendations to friends and family
    Facebook and Twitter are also being used for friends and followers to recommend businesses. As of September 2011, 43% of Twitter usage is performed on mobile devices where people update anywhere, anytime[ix]. If you have consumers tweeting negatively about your products or services, their opinion is being sent far and wide.  Social customer service can help revert those negative tweets into positive ones or even persuade the poster to remove the tweet entirely.

Obtain Ultimate Customer Satisfaction

Most businesses are aware that customer service is one of the most essential aspects of any company. Customer service shows your clients that you care. It shows your customers that you appreciate them more than their money. Satisfied customers want to feel appreciated. Unsatisfied customers want to know you care. Below are two models on how to obtain ultimate customer satisfaction.

Social Customer Service Plan for Responding to Satisfied Customers:

To obtain ultimate customer satisfaction from happy customers, you must search through review and social media sites, respond to comments, and provide deals and gifts to show your appreciation. After these three steps are complete, the satisfied customer is even more satisfied because they know you care about them individually. Most customers who have positive customer service experiences tend to become repeat customers.

Social Customer Service Plan for Responding to Unsatisfied Customers:

To obtain ultimate customer service for unsatisfied customers, you must search through review and social media sites, respond to negative comments, and resolve the issue. Unsatisfied customers are now satisfied because they know you care about them, not their money.

 

Responding to Negative Tweets and Facebook Comments

“Over 58% of tweeters who have tweeted about a bad experience have never received a response from the offending company.”

- Harry Rollason Customersrock.com

  1. Find tweets (usually through an online tool like Hootsuite) that mention or hashtag your brand name
  2.  Follow the unsatisfied customer (you always want to follow the customers so they know you’re interested in them as individuals)
  3. Tweet at the customer. A good customer service tweet should look like “Hi @[customer], we regret to hear about your experience. Please DM (Direct Message) your email so customer service can follow up.”
  4. Wait for a Direct Message with their email address
  5. Email the customer to learn about the issue
  6. Offer a solution to their problem

Facebook is easier. Respond to customer comments with something similar to the example tweet above. Some may message you on Facebook, others may provide an email. Either way, the steps are the same. Show the customer you’re a good listener.

Responding to Positive Feedback

The same process can be used for positive tweets and posts as well. The only difference is that you’re thanking the customer and offering them some kind of deal or gift for promoting your brand name. On Facebook, you don’t need to friend the customer because Facebook is more personal. However, if a customer asks to be your friend, you should friend them back.

Start a Social Customer Service Plan Now!

Social customer service is becoming more essential as our world relies on social media. The more we use the internet to find and discuss businesses and our experiences, the more in demand social customer service becomes. No one wants their business to have poor reviews, especially because so many people rely on reviews. No one wants to lose customers because of a complaint on Twitter that hasn’t been confronted.  Customers have bad experiences. Social customer service helps those customers see the positives in your business.

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Be Found Online employs Social Customer Service experts who can help you create and manage a successful social customer service response plan. Give us a call today at 877‑553‑6863 and we will be more than happy to answer your questions about how social is changing the way we serve our customers.

 

 References


[i] http://www.rightnow.com/files/analyst-reports/RightNow-Customer-Experience-Impact-North-America-Report.pdf

[ii] http://customersrock.net/2011/10/18/customer-service-through-social-media-the-game-has-changed/

[iii] http://www.coneinc.com/content1182

[iv] http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=afod9i5PqoMQ

[v] http://media.wiley.com/product_data/excerpt/46/04709738/0470973846-22.pdf

[vi] http://aytm.com/blog/daily-survey-results/twitter-survey/

[vii] http://searchengineland.com/harnessing-the-power-of-online-customer-reviews-for-local-business-growth-92947

[viii] http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/global-advertising-consumers-trust-real-friends-and-virtual-strangers-the-most/

[ix] http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/25026/43-of-Twitter-Users-Access-Twitter-From-a-Mobile-Phone-Data.aspx