Customer Experience News & Trends

The 3 deadliest social media sins you can commit

Are you sending the wrong customer service message via social media?

Nearly 70% of customers have turned to a company’s social media site for customer service, a J.D. Power study found. Yet, many are disappointed by the experience: Social media ranks last in meeting customer expectations when it comes to responses, a Northridge Group Inc. study found.

The biggest problem could still be the same thing that’s always plagued customer service: companies over-promising and under-delivering to customers.

Here are three of the worst social media customer service offenses, according to research from Conversocial. Plus, we’ve included proven ways to avoid them from companies that are succeeding at social media service:

1. Silence

Customers who vent frustration in social media will only become more aggravated by silence. Even if you can’t answer a question or resolve an issue right away, it’s vital to acknowledge it immediately. But many don’t: In fact, the Northridge study found that 33% of customers never get a response to social media posts.

One solution: Try a “holding post” for issues you can address quickly, says Conversocial’s Marketing Manager Harry Rollason. Let them know you’ve seen their post, that you’re looking into it, and when they can expect a response. If it’s complicated or emotional, you might even suggest taking the issue to a more private channel.

2. Blame

Customers see companies as a whole — not a string of departments that have a hand in the experience. Therefore, when they contact a company via social media (or any channel, for that matter), they expect a straight answer and resolution. They aren’t interested if theirs is a marketing, sales, delivery or service issue.

So don’t tell them who’s behind the problem — or anything about your internal process that might have failed. They just want resolutions.

For instance, Seamless, an online food delivery site, responds to complaints about orders or website errors almost immediately — and without pointing blame. They often let customers know of issues before they even hear a complaint and explain what they’re doing to fix them.

3. Neglect

Social media has some dark sides, and giving companies a wrong sense of the strength of customers’ relationships with them is one. Just because followers and “likes” increase doesn’t mean that loyalty will rise, too.

Getting followers is only the first step in a social media relationship. You have to make a proactive effort to create good social media service experiences. Quick, accurate and thoughtful responses to customer posts are key. You can further nurture those relationships with relevant content, and linking customers to both your information and outside sources of info. Retweet your customers’ content and “like” their posts, too.

One way to interact more: Create an outlet for feedback. Starbucks created a separate Twitter account, @MyStarbucksIdea, for customers to submit and discuss ideas on how to make the company better.

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