Social media has changed the landscape of customer service.
Consider it a blessing. You’ve got social media as your accessible customer support channel in a world that crave quick responses and answers to their questions directly to their mobile phones.
In fact, companies who deliver customer service in social media enjoy an annual financial increase of 7.5% according to a study by Aberdeen Group.
Then again, consider it a curse.
Take to long to respond or piss off a tech-savvy customer or a customer who knows someone tech-savvy and you’ve got bad reviews spreading like wildfire online.
Be warned. At least 82% of consumers report they dissed a brand due to poor customer service experience alone. When disgruntled customers take it to social media to air their grievances, more than 60 percent of other consumers are influenced by these hurtful comments.
Which shows why we should all take customer service seriously in all channels, it just might be our edge in this world when looking for a personal touch.
Clearly, now more than ever is the time to re-think or focus more on those relationship goals, especially on social media.
Here are 10 ways to make those goals and your business last.
1. Be Authentic. Find your voice.
How did you come up with the idea behind your business?
What motivates you to make your business last?
Define your purpose and your values and make it clear on your social media pages in your about section, through videos and images you create.
This will create authenticity in you and your health and wellness business, in turn creating trust and other positive values like honesty, genuineness and believability.
Maybe you have an honest and genuine story you are not embracing or sharing. Don’t be afraid to share both bad and good, they are part of your brand’s identity and they establish your authenticity.
Indeed, 63 percent of global consumers said in a survey that they will reward companies who communicate honestly about their brands.
Consumers will also choose between an authentic brand than the rest of its competitors, even if they have the same high-quality product.
So don’t just swim with the rest of the pack. Differentiate your position and find your unique voice. Consider these habits from authentic brands according to Entrepreneur:
They listen to customers and reshape their brand lifestyle.
They stick to their values.
They are honest.
They add a personal touch to the business.
They embrace their story (strengths and weaknesses).
2. Make Problem-solving Easy
Have you ever heard a common customer service tip to “exceed customer expectations”?
It turns out that harmless tip is actually yielding confusion, wasting time, effort and money.
But when it comes to customer service, “making it easy” is a more actionable word. Can you recall the last time you had a problem with a brand or a service? For example, you checked in to a hotel only to find out the room you got wasn’t the one you booked.
The hotel, in turn, advised you to wait calmly. The next thing you know, you’re being transferred to an even better room.
Which experience will you remember here?
Of course, the one where your complaint was addressed fast. Our memories can remember solutions much powerful than problems.
That is why when it comes to customer service, we attract loyal customers if we can solve their problems easily, even quickly.
Given the patience of customers nowadays, a straightforward solution will be more valued than an array of choices, especially with the presence of social media channels.
A straightforward solution simply means removing the obstacles. You don’t want customers calling you repeatedly to ask the same thing and getting more and more frustrated that their problem hasn’t been solved.
That is why most businesses choose to highlight “time-saving” features or benefits of products because as it turns out, according to research selling “time” can make customers more receptive than selling money and time is a priceless resource.
Here’s a more personal example. Healthinomics provides health and wellness business owners ready-made social media content. Having engaging visuals are guaranteed to grow social media following but what do these ready-made visuals do best for the client?
They save time of course! The time spent researching and creating them could be spent doing better things in your business.
In turn, solving problems easily is about getting the solution right and to save time doing that. You don’t want to inconvenience the client any further.
3. Provide Valuable Resources
Customer satisfaction is one of the roots of customer service. And providing resources is one of the ways to satisfy the customer’s need for information, for entertainment and for inspiration.
This is easier done in social media. You can conduct a multi-channel promotion and run it across different social media platforms. Think of giveaways or freebies your clients will want to have whether they buy from you or not.
Most businesses don’t want to shell out much for promotions and giveaways which is fine. The truth is, the cost of the gift or the action is not the ultimate factor but ultimately, it’s the intention that gives value to the gift.
The science behind providing valuable resources is the psychological construct of reciprocity. We, humans, are naturally inclined to feel grateful and payback when someone does a favor for us, like give us something really valuable.
Maybe they won’t make a purchase right away but when a need arises whether theirs or someone close, there’s a good chance it’s the generous’ business name they will remember. This is when payback feels good.
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4. Ask Customers for their input
We don’t always know what’s best for our clients, but they do.
That’s why client inputs are considered gold in customer service because we can tailor our efforts to meet their needs.
In fact, a study from the Institute of Management Sciences highlights how important customer inputs are for thriving businesses. From the same source, the study cited that among 1,193 commercially successful innovations across nine industries, 60% came from customer inputs.
Here’s a popular example. When business growth was stalling, Starbucks initiated crowdsourcing in 2008 that earned them a 375% sales increase in Q4 of 2009 from over 270 ideas. It turns out those free wi-fi, birthday treats, and other concepts were fan-made.
For us here at Healthinomics, we also ask our community for social media content bundle ideas. From our social media followers across all different platforms, the response has been gratifying and shapes the types of content that we create today.
This example was a post inside our Facebook group – Marketing Tips for Health & Wellness Businesses
But when you do consider a customer’s input and end up implementing them, show your gratitude by acknowledging them in your social media accounts aside from thanking them personally (or giving a thank-you gift).
We always hear the words “engage” and “listen” to customers and nothing says that better than boldly asking for their inputs and suggestions to improve our products and services.
5. Empathize with Customers
In an article from Harvard Business Review, they disclosed that customer service managers always prefer agents who are “empathizers”.
They described empathizers as service-oriented, patient, a good listener and someone who really likes to help.
Take the case of JetBlue Airways as shared by Buffer.
A typical passenger tweeted a complaint to the airline about having the only static TV during the entire four-hour flight. Everyone else had perfectly functioning screens.
Take notice of how JetBlue Airways handled the complaint. No excuses, only empathy.
Most importantly a solution! JetBlue went beyond an empathic reply and gave him credit for his trouble in just 23 minutes. Hence, it’s a complain that ended with a happy ending.
6. Respond to issues on social media quickly
In social media, silence for a long time doesn’t automatically mean guilt but it doesn’t seem good.
Jay Baer says 32% of social media users expect a response within 30 minutes while 42% expect to hear back from you within 1 hour!
It turns out he is right. Adult consumers around the world consider fast responses to inquiries and complaints as the “ideal” customer experience.
This was backed up by a new study from the Economist Intelligence Unit.
But if the problems have been fixed on time, studies also show that 70% of unhappy customers will transform into loyal ones.
Remember, when a customer lodges a complaint against you on social media the best response is a solution you can implement fast.
7. Honesty and Transparency are the Best Policy
Is your business going thru a rough patch?
Will it affect your service, product quality or customer service relationship?
A challenging situation is just one of the scenarios where transparency and honesty are required. But everyday scenarios and processes are no exceptions.
A recent study from Harvard Business School shared the restaurant setting as an example of transparency. When chefs cooked in front of customers, customer satisfaction increased by 17% and the cooks actually did perform better because they were more accountable with a client at the front.
In fact, customers liked being part of the process it felt more real and honest.
Let’s face it, our trust is best gained by honesty and transparency whether in business or in real life.
But in business, the practice of transparency should be the following.
- You are open to customer feedback.
- You address problems easily
- You have nothing to hide.
8. Deliver what you promise or don’t overpromise
There’s no need to always go above and beyond but basically, deliver what you said you will.
Negative customer experience can be traced to unmet expectations. Don’t lead customers to believe you can solve everything. When the customer expects something and you don’t deliver, they’ll spread the word that can pull down your reputation. Especially on social media.
Sometimes though, other factors can contribute and make things out of our hands when it comes to delivering on time as promised (weather, schedule, traffic, personal issues).
The next tip will take care of that.
9. Use the two power words
The first word seems to be the hardest word: S-o-r-r-y.
As Novelist Craig Silvey puts it:
“Sorry means you leave yourself open, to embrace or to ridicule or to revenge. Sorry is a question that begs forgiveness, because the metronome of a good heart won’t settle until things are set right and true. Sorry doesn’t take things back, but it pushes things forward. It bridges the gap. Sorry is a sacrament. It’s an offering. A gift.”
Social media is a good customer service platform to say sorry. Because everyone can see you are being honest and humble in admitting to the mistake.
Of course, the secrets to make the word “Sorry” positive in social media are:
- Don’t justify mistakes or blame others
- Empathize with the customer
- Aim for a resolution
- Don’t argue publicly
- Resolve the issue directly (directly message the customer)
- Don’t automate “sorry” by including it in copy/paste robotic responses
Here’s how a Dell rep said sorry over truly catastrophic customer experience.
Did you see how Dell managed to make it personal by boldly sharing a name to the disaster?
Things can go wrong but there is a word to make up for that. Say it genuinely then move to a logical resolution.
The second word: Thank you
Showing how grateful you are with these words is not just about good manners, it’s good for customer service too.
According to Jill Clarvit from Sendoutcards.com, “saying thank you to your clients, particularly new clients, increases your business 17%.”
It doesn’t have to be special occasions to show your gratitude. You can send personalized thank you cards or e-greetings or tag the client in social media.
No matter which route you choose, any client will appreciate your gratitude.
10. Say their name
A Ball State study revealed that responding and addressing clients by their real names is one of the best practices in business. This is the age of social media, it wouldn’t be hard for anyone to find names on social media profiles.
Take a look at these two emails from competing ride-hailing apps. You can easily see which one sounds more personal and therefore is more successful at connecting with a customer.
Parting Customer Service Tip: Consistency
We’re all humans so no one is always right. But it always feels right to help and make someone happy. To make this a habit, the key is consistency.
If we put customer service as part of our business habits, it will show in everything we do—our marketing strategy, our brand lifestyle, our communication, down to our products and services.
It’s not always easy but as long we put our best foot forward, passionately and wholeheartedly, customers will be willing to open up their hearts.
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What Is Healthinomics?
Struggling with social media marketing for your health or wellness business? It can be frustrating trying to build your social media presence and convert your followers into clients.
Healthinomics is an easy way to grow your social media following with eye-catching time-saving bundles of ready-made social media images, designed just for health and wellness business owners like you.
Simply download any bundle of social media images, add your logo to brand them as your own, and share the images across all your social media platforms!