Whether we like it or not, the times are changing and so too must business in order to adapt and stay ahead in the game of consumerism. Dramatic changes began with the ushering in of smaller, stronger and faster computers, the development of the Internet, and finally the creation of Social Media. In fact, Social Networking sites gained speed and credibility when Facebook entered the online arena.
Each one offers a unique portal for connecting with friends, co-workers, clients, and just about anyone you care to contact. For businesses, online customer service support is quickly becoming an invaluable tool for several aspects of their products and services including marketing, sales, public relations, investor relations and in particular customer service.
Social media outlets offer a direct line of communication from the customer to the company when monitored regularly. Here are a few of the ways online customer service support social networking websites can help improve customer service:
a. Issue/Problem Resolution – often a customer leaves and never returns due to an unresolved issue or situation that was not handled to their satisfaction. If the unhappy patron uses their social media page to voice their displeasure, the business can easily pick it up and immediately begin the process to correct the errors. Then the customer will go back to their page and tell of the excellent customer service they encountered.
b. Developing a Following – by having a dedicated staff to monitor and utilize the various social networking sites to promote the company, ask questions of followers, and seek out improvements from customers, this acts like a direct conduit of information and also a gauge of the public perception of the company.
c. New Product Ideas and Roll-outs – using social networking sites to introduce potential new products and services can yield valuable information as to the mood or feeling customers have towards the new item(s). Any changes required can be directly addressed and implemented prior to product roll-out thus avoiding a customer relations nightmare.
d. Complaints and Follow-up – utilizing online social networking sites to sniff out customer service issues and also to follow-up on how they perceive the company and its services is a critical component to investing the time and effort in social networking.
The problem with social media and company investiture is the entire business structure from top to bottom must buy-in to the program or it will not work as intended. Management must realize the importance and value of monitoring and using sites like Facebook as something more than sales promotion and getting “likes”.
New social networking customer support tools can help many facets of a business, but first and foremost it can cement long-term relations with customers. The ultimate goal of social customer support is to change the way the business is run in order to eliminate the issues and complaints. Social media has become a direct line to “word of mouth” recommendations and negative remarks and as such must be used to guide the company into positive customer service territory.