5 Rules for Better Customer Care

Here at Spredfast, we firmly believe a best of breed approach leads to the very best solutions on social. From marketing to social customer care, we understand that the most sophisticated insights come from multiple sources that work in collaboration. We’ve invited our partner Crimson Hexagon to walk us through their top five rules of social care. Let’s see what Crimson’s own Noel Baylor has to say about the keys to top-notch social customer care.

Customer service can be a tricky nut to crack, especially when it comes to the wild west that is social media. Now let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment: think back to the last time you had a negative customer service experience. If you’re like me, your "emotional sentiment" after a bad customer experience is likely to be one of two feelings: anger, or tears.

In fact, if you were to look at customer service on a larger scale, the consumer sentiment via social media is predominantly negative and angry, and is expressed at a very high volume—646,143 posts in the past 4 weeks to be exact. (And that’s only on Twitter.)

^ We all love jumping into a conversation with a bunch of angry people.

As a brand, it can seem daunting to think about these implications across the entire online spectrum. How do you manage it all? How do you stay on message? Should you just toss in the towel already?

This brings me to today’s lesson in customer service for the social enterprise. Here are five rules to help brands manage the difficult task of customer care on social media:

Rule #1: Be Timely

People are more impatient than ever. The longer the response time to an online comment, the more angry the customer. In fact, a recent study by Edison showed that 40% of consumers who complain on social media expect a response within 60 minutes. Maybe that seems impractical to some, but imagine if you were this person:

#Outraged: Letting something like this linger on social could be threatening to the brand and company overall. Luckily in this case, Uber reached out within three minutes—not too shabby. We recommend responses in less than 10 minutes as a best practice.

The shorter the response time the better. You want your customers to feel that their voice is heard. Responding at that key moment of relevance with more information or a list of actions to be taken is the best way to resolve the problem.

The shorter the response time the better. You want your customers to feel that their voice is heard.

 

Rule #2: Be Proactive

If possible, be proactive on your social outlets to communicate known issues, key announcements, or important notifications. If you are transparent with your customers they are more likely to be understanding and cooperative. Give customers time to plan for things like travel delays, or shipping errors, rather than just sitting by and allowing your brand to suffer from a slew of negative social mentions. Proactive customer service ensures that customers feel comfortable reaching out with additional questions or concerns.

In the example below, I love how JetBlue takes the time to give each person an individual response; honestly, we all love to feel special. People value personalization, and customers are sick of auto-populated, overly general customer service comments. Make sure your brand is sending more than the standard “DM us for a resolution.”

Rule #3: Consider the Emotional Sentiment

How do you handle the critics when the haters won’t stop hating? In a recent Twitter campaign, Wendy’s knocked it out of the park with their customer service ambush.

Leaving no comment unturned, Wendy’s stormed through Twitter with witty banter, ranting back at every hater. Now, clearly, a tactic like this isn’t fitting for every brand—even in this campaign Wendy’s tailored their approach when handling honest complaints from their patrons.

Nonetheless, it’s important to keep consumer sentiment in mind. Often in customer service it can be tough to stay away from the negative vibes. But if you stay positive and are willing to add humor to the customer experience, it sends a more human message to the broader community.

Rule #4: Promote the Positive Endorsements

Just because the majority of customer service is spent managing frustrated customers doesn’t mean you should only monitor negative posts. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs found that, on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the amount of their first purchase. Keep your loyal followers top of mind—always! We recommend keeping tabs on your positive mentions, especially those that are exhibiting joyful sentiment.

Social media is also a great place to find your next brand ambassador or spokesperson: check out this example from Fitbit.

Positive social endorsements come across as more organic to other users. According to Twitter, 49% of users rely on recommendations from influencers on Twitter. It is more important than ever to engage these influencers, especially following a positive social comment.

Rule #5: Listen For Product Feedback

Customer feedback is important. It can help you to understand your audience, what they like, and where they see opportunities for improvement within your business. Social media is a great place to tune in for new ideas, and customers are willing to tell all—especially if you ask for it.

If you are struggling with certain aspects of your product or service, you may even want to consider implementing a campaign for open feedback from your fans and followers. You never know what you might be able to learn.

If you haven’t figured out the best way to manage your customer service channels on social, don’t fret. Through the power of the Spreadfast’s social engagement tools and Crimson Hexagon’s social analytics tools, it’s easy to understand customer sentiment, identify customer issues, and respond to customers quickly.

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Cara Dolence manages Spredfast's partner programs globally to help customers realize the full value of integrating their technology stacks. An East Coast transplant to Austin, Cara still supports her Virginia Tech Hokies and Washington Capitals from the heart of Longhorn country.