Customer service procedures and social media preparation

You wouldn’t jump into a swimming pool if you didn’t know how to swim. You would take lessons, learn the skill, and try your newly learned abilities while accompanied by your coach or mentor. Consider using social media the same way. You should not just create Twitter and Facebook accounts and not be prepared for the flood of people who will express their opinions both good and bad; you will need to have a plan. The plan includes teaching employees how to deal with customer support on a different and much larger scale, how to talk to people, create content and answer questions. Depending on the size of your business, opening the causeway to more traffic may also demand more employees. Remember train, train, train. Offer role-playing, mentoring and carefully select those employees who can resolve, address and deal with customers in a positive manner.

When dealing in customer service, the importance of call centers and emails make profound impressions, however the interaction is generally private; that is between the customer service representative and the customer. When you enter the world of social media, service or product problems can immediately become public discussions. A company therefore needs to be unified before ever venturing out into the world of Facebook or Twitter  Employees need to know who will be handling customer support, who will be addressing criticism and negative comments and even what kind of rewards will be offered.

Social media awakens a higher demand for transparency, honesty and action. It is not acceptable to ignore the problem or to make excuses because people aren’t going to be happy, and you can be sure that bad news spreads quickly. Employees need to be trained in handling customers and how to address them. Social media is about engaging and connecting to foster positive relationships with customers, and dealing with complaints means addressing them and fixing them. Think of it as the “telephone” game we played in the second grade. If one person hears the bad news of a rain storm on your company picnic, by the time the news gets to the tenth person, the rain has turned into a catastrophic tsunami.

If you know how to turn criticism around to your advantage, social media can even benefit you more. If your company accepts criticism, corrects the problem immediately and apologizes for the inconvenience or delays, customer loyalty can increase. Even if there is someone chastising who is acting unreasonable, the positive changes can bring more customers to the company’s defense and build a more positive relationship. Just make sure those employees who are the social media experts know how to influence customers, are able to deliver the messages in a positive manner, and are positive role models for your company.

photo credit: jekert gwapo