It wasn't that long ago when having a business presence on social media was optional. Now, it's expected, and it's no longer good enough to simply post when you have a promotion or other announcement.
If you're not meeting your customers' social media expectations, chances are, you're losing opportunities. Today's customers expect businesses to offer great customer service on social media, as well as engaging content.
What Is Good Customer Service On Social Media?
Many small business owners have not realized how dramatically customer demands have shifted and grown with regard to social media support and content. If you're expecting customers to pick up a telephone to interact with your company, you're starting at a disadvantage. A recent study of customer/brand interaction on social media found that while 90 percent of the respondents have used social media to communicate with a brand, a staggering 89 percent of social media messages directed to a brand go unanswered. Among brands who did respond, the average time for a response was 10 hours, while customers want a response within four hours. Businesses cannot afford to treat social media like a billboard; it's an interactive medium. Among the brands studied, companies made 23 posts for every one direct response to a customer.
- Be Present – This is a challenging task for many smaller businesses, but your business needs to be prepared to provide your followers with excellent social media support. It's not good enough to set some articles or announcements to auto-post a few times a day. You need an actual human to say "thanks!" when a customer posts a compliment or a positive review, to say something positive when customers tag your company in a photo or post of their own, and to answer questions. Great customer service starts with building confidence that you're actually listening and interacting.
- Be Proactive – Don't wait for your customers to ask you a question. Read through the comments on your social media and ask questions of your own. Not only will this build brand loyalty as you take an active interest, but it also gives you a chance to learn more about what your followers need and value, so you can more accurately target future content. As your customers develop more loyalty toward your brand, they're more likely to post positive reviews and share their positive experience with their contacts.
- Be Prompt - The study above found that 52 percent of customers expect to hear from a brand within seven days of posting a negative review, 25 percent a response within three days, and 21 percent expect to hear from you within 24 hours. Even when they're not waiting for a reply to a complaint, customers expect a prompt reply from you in answer to a question or comment they’ve posted. Expectations vary here, with some users wanted a reply within minutes, and others willing to wait up to four hours. The key take-away is that the faster you respond, the more positive an impression you leave, not only on the customer who directly contacts you, but also on other followers who see that you are there, you are paying attention, and you care about what this community of people who follow your brand have to say.
Re-Thinking Social Media Strategies
If, like most businesses on social media today, your company has not included customer support and interactive marketing that builds brand loyalty in your social media strategy, it's time to re-think that strategy. Social media has much more to offer your business than a static billboard or a print ad would, if you stop thinking in terms of one-way communication, and start building relationships with your audience.