ADVICE

Connect with your customers

Posted 2/17/14

Customers – and, yes, that means YOUR customers, too – are spending more time on social media and mobile devices than ever before. As a result, small-business owners are increasingly using social media as a way to not just communicate with customers, but to provide various forms of customer service as well.

Using social media for customer service offers great advantages. It’s fast, for one thing, and lets you easily provide personalized responses that can also be seen (and appreciated) by others.

By monitoring social channels you might also discover customers with issues you weren’t aware of and might otherwise not have realized were a problem. Not everyone will pick up the phone or send an email to alert you, but they might comment on the issue in social media.

Social media experts at Spredfast, a firm that helps businesses develop their social presence, note that helpful responses show customers and prospects that you run a responsive business.

If you do venture into social media for customer service, make sure that you and other members of your team keep things friendly and personable, demonstrate deep knowledge of your products and services, and have the skills to communicate effectively in a conversational style.

Here are four ways to use social media for customer service:

• Managing expectations. Even if you can’t immediately fix or otherwise address a concern, it’s important to let people know you’re on it and provide some kind of time frame for resolution. This can also be a great time to ask for further information that you may need, and also shows you are actively looking into it.

• Troubleshooting. Fixing problems is at the core of customer support, and social media can help. If the problem is shared by others, for example, you might post helpful information or links on Facebook, as a way to publicly share a solution.

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