Online marketing is probably the introvert’s dream.
We have reached the point in society where many people successfully hold down jobs without leaving their homes (or pajamas). As more and more people move toward a digital lifestyle, many businesses have followed suit. Sure, some businesses still opt for paying rowdy kids to stand on corners and dance with signs bearing their logo, but others have found great success communicating with customers through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and many others.
With the decrease in physical human interaction, do the same standards of customer relations still apply? How important is customer service to a business’ social media presence, really? Let’s start from the beginning and say that you, the CEO of your company, have decided to see what all the hubbub is about and sign up for all the major social media accounts.
Perhaps you thought creating a Facebook and Instagram account would be a quick and easy way to get ‘likes.’ With the right kind of content, that can absolutely be true, but let’s not forget that people also have the option to ‘unlike’ your page. In this article from Social Media Today, Patrick Sutton highlights the importance of being aware of your surroundings. “Don’t forget the ‘social’ in social media,” he writes. So basically, if you’re only checking your pages for tally marks, you may want to consider a different platform for your marketing.
While it’s obviously important that your page is, shall we say ‘popular,’ when current and potential clients reach out to you on social media and receive silence in return, it is likely that their attention will turn in other directions. Your shiny, candy exterior will only take you so far if the end result is a wormy center. Furthermore, the sour taste in your followers mouths left by your unhelpful vibe is not likely to prove profitable for your business.
According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, “News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.” Yikes. So now, if you have indeed offended people with your lack of communication, they are also probably telling their friends. That’s right, your formally interested clients are now venting their frustrations to your once-potential clients between crunchy bites of happy hour nachos and now, they don’t really want to ‘like’ your page either! What to do?
Luckily for you, great customer service on social media can be just as simple as it is in person. Also, it is often no more expensive than a friendly attitude and a little quality time.
Did you know that whether or not you smile during a phone call can make a difference in the way you are perceived on the other end of the line? Even if the customer can’t see your facial expressions, your vocal inflections will absolutely cue them in to your mood. According to this article on Dummies.com, “your customers know within ten seconds of initiating the call whether they’re talking to beauty or the beast.” The same ‘customer service face’ that you wore out there on the retail floor is usually the best one to don for any other platform.
While things like listening and being attentive are pretty standard when it comes to customer service, there is also something to be said for playing to your audience. One such example of this can be found in this story from Today and involves a well-known company and a not-so-well-known, regular dude. In this scenario, said regular dude sends Samsung a request on Facebook asking for a free Galaxy S III in exchange for his awesome dragon drawing. Samsung politely declines, but sends back a drawing of a unicycle-riding kangaroo. Much to the astonishment of Samsung, this simple and quirky interaction quickly goes viral. In fact, it gets so much publicity that the company decides to send this guy his free phone, after all. They even personalize the outside and screensaver with his awesome dragon doodle!
Customer service on social media is something that can be endlessly customized and tailored depending on client needs. While basic rules of politeness generally apply, there are still lots of ways to get creative with delivery. Overall, though, no matter how many automated systems take over receptionist desks, it’s pretty apparent that customers appreciate knowing that at the end of the line, there is a person who cares about their individual consumer experience. As Mo Hardy once said, “Customer service is an attitude, not a department.”