Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Can Good Customer Service Help You Sell?

September 28, 2016

In a word, yes. If you’re using your social networks wisely.

Todd Martin 070715 image 3

Every business gets complaints, through a variety of channels. If you’re a big enough company, you probably have a dedicated customer service phone number. Maybe you can only staff an email address. Depending on the nature of your products, you may deal with individual customers face-to-face. And there are still people who take the time to sit down, write a letter, and dispatch it through the U.S. Mail.

But are you using your social media channels effectively to support your customers? Some small businesses don’t want to open the floodgates, so they forego taking this route. Your customers, though, will take note of this. If you make it difficult for people to register complaints, the problems don’t go away. You’ve just given your buying public one more ax to grind.

So consider finding ways to make yourself as accessible as possible. These days, it’s practically a given that you’re available online, primarily through Twitter, but you may be able to set up a suitable customer service presence on Facebook. Customers who have a bad experience with one of your products or services won’t necessarily write you off – if they feel their concerns were heard and addressed. And that can translate into repeat purchases.

Here are some suggestions.

Todd 060915 image 2Make the most private venues the most accessible. Do you prefer that people call or email? Then make that information and those links stand out on the Contact Us and Customer Service pages of your website. Do acknowledge that customers can also reach you through social media, but don’t make those addresses as visible.

Create separate accounts for customer service. Your primary accounts will likely consist of your company’s name. Your customer service account names should contain your company name and words like, “help,” “support,” or, “customer service. This is an absolute must. You want to keep one access point available simply for your own marketing purposes and for general comments from the public. Don’t mix the two. If you put your actual account names/handles on your websites, business cards, etc., make sure to indicate which should be contacted for support (even if it’s ridiculously obvious).

Divert conversations to private areas whenever possible. Both Twitter and Facebook have private messaging capabilities. You could, in fact, ask that individuals with complaints use those first. But not everyone will. So when someone leaves a public message that you’d like to take private, write a tweet or post acknowledging that you received their tweet or post, and ask if there’s a way to communicate off the main site. You don’t want the audience to think you’ve ignored that tweet or post

Note: If someone posts a common question, it makes sense to answer it publicly where appropriate. You may save others from having to ask a question that’s been answered.

Make sure that all of your staff involved in social customer service understand their duties and responsibilities precisely. You don’t want some messages to get answered twice and others not at all.

Todd 070116 image 1Be as timely and as personal as you can. This goes without saying. If you’re understaffed and/or overtweeted, you’ll have to decide for yourself which approach is better: a quick, canned acknowledgement with the promise of an eventual personalized response, or a delayed answer.

I can’t tell you how you can quantify the ROI you get from assigning resources to social customer service. I’m not sure anyone really can. But if you commit to this, give it your absolute best effort. Or stick to email.

 

 

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