In 2019, we live our lives through social media. We educate ourselves, seek work, donate money to charity and find love through the social platforms on our phones. So for modern business models, it only makes sense to carry out the majority of your customer service processes on the platforms your customers use most: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
But through these social media customer service outlets, we’ve also seen the worst of corporations – with employee errors, accidental discrimination and just pure poor situation handling taking place in these openly public spaces.
So I’ve put together a little guide of ‘what not to do’ on your social media customer service in 2019, to try and help those brands who still haven’t quite hit their targets this August.
Don’t Misidentify Your Customers
This year, more than ever, businesses are being introduced to diverse consumers bases, hailing from a range of sexualities, genders and cultural groups. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is to misidentify one of their customers, using the wrong pronouns, assuming their sexuality or religion, or even just getting their name wrong.
Not only will this frustrate your digital customers, many of who will have taken to social media to make a complaint or report dissatisfaction initially, but it also tarnishes the brand name. There are far too many examples of brands making innocent, yet unwittingly harmful errors in this field and it’s so important to keep your social media platforms as open and inclusive as possible.
Don’t Blag About The Technology
Another crucial characteristic of consumers in 2019 is their adept ability to understand technology better than you can. So when your company tech suddenly stops working, your customers will be looking for a little more help than ‘try turning it on and off again’.
From dodgy discount codes to broken gadgets, the technical elements of modern retail outlets are essential to keeping your brand afloat. Make sure your customer service team can provide valuable, helpful advice to frustrated customers, guiding them to a solution, rather than simply redirecting them to an outdated owners manual.
Don’t Copy And Paste Your Responses
In times of a company crisis, it can be easy to fall into the ‘copy and paste trap’. When a flight is delayed or a ticket sale goes wrong and your mentions are suddenly filled with angry customers all asking the same questions, it’s only natural to want to tell them all the same answers. But trust me, this is only going to frustrate them even more. Firstly, provide a blanket answer to the problem in an individual tweet. Let them know that you are aware of the issue and are looking into fixing it. Until you know more, don’t respond to any direct messages as it’s likely the information you give may change pretty soon.
If a resolution can’t be found, make sure you respond to each tweet as if that person was stood in front of you. Make a note of their situation, be empathetic and apologise for the distress caused. Point them in the direction of a solution for when they’re ready, but more importantly, let them know that you’re there for them now.
Don’t Undermine Your Customer Service Colleagues
One of the most annoying things for a customer to deal with is being one thing from ground staff and another from social media. It’s so important to gain customer trust across the board, in all areas of your service so having conflicting arguments can be a really clumsy move.
Ensure that your company has a strict policy that covers everything, from discount exceptions to the customer complaints process. This can help you avoid miscommunications on different platforms, and save you from some red-faced social media blusters later down the line!
Don’t Lose Your Consistency
A recent trend of customer service socials is to end each reply with a generic-sounding name, to help humanise the platform. Large scale companies are actioning in their ‘Jamies’, ‘Toms’ and ‘Annas’ to keep up the appearance of a human voice on the other end of the tweet.
However, through the course of the day, these names often switch around. Whilst you can initially be chatting to a ‘Dan’, you suddenly get swapped over to a ‘Jane’, making the communication feel confusing and off-putting. Customers feel as if they’re talking to an entirely new person, having to describe their circumstances all over again and simply being pushed around the system. It appears robotic and disingenuous, negating the ‘human’ element the names were designed to enforce.
Try and keep your names consistent, if you must have to use them at all. There are other ways to communicate personally without creating fake human profiles for your customers to vent at.
Carrying out your customer services through social media isn’t always easy. There are always going to be unpredictable circumstances you encounter and slip-ups are always bound to happen. But by building up a strong customer service voice, based on the principles of empathetic marketing, you can deliver something really valuable to your users.