Recently I had a discussion with a new client regarding an announcement they had made, via social media, relating to a local community activity they had to cancel. It had become apparent through the immediate outpouring of disappointment from their followers that a better strategy was needed to combat these responses, rather than silence. I recommended that the client better communicate the decision making process and reasons behind what the community perceived as a 'negative decision'.
From discussions with the client the reasons for their decision were in fact as a result of what could be seen as a positive news story, however this had not been communicated as part of their social media announcement. Rest assured if the public had better understood the reasons behind the decision to cancel, the responses would have been far less emotional and more understanding (albeit still disappointed).
What you say online really matters!
The moral of this story? Communication is key. What you believe to be a minor announcement may in fact be of great importance to your followers and as such could result in very public and potentially negative feedback.
Treat your online followers as if they were a customer standing in front of you. Deal with each comment as if they had spoken it to you in person. And remember what they are saying, your other customers, or potential customers, are hearing. It is crucial that you handle their engagement with a high level of care.
5 key elements for effective social media customer service
There are some simple strategies to assist with providing a high level of customer service to your online community;
Whether via your inbox or a public post, respond to an engagement as quickly as possible
Determine which comments should be responded to publicly and which should be taken 'offline' and addressed by personal message
Do your best to reply to all social media comments, feedback and questions
When faced with negative, or potentially aggressive feedback, combat with a positive and calm response
Personalise your response by using the followers name when addressing their comment/feedback
Predict the future
When posting to your social media accounts, it is always wise to predict the response you may receive from your followers - regardless of content. If there is a chance that your post may invoke negative or controversial engagements, be armed with your planned response. Keep your tone friendly, knowledgeable and understanding.
The biggest key in customer service? Don't fight fire with fire. It's very difficult to stay aggressive and angry with a calm and passive counterpart - even online. If anything, if it does not placate the respondent, at least to other customers and followers you are being responsive and understanding.
Need further help in understanding how to provide high levels of customer service for your online community? Jigsaw Marketing Solutions pride themselves on their commitment to understanding customers and their online engagement needs.