How to Avoid Social Media Customer Service Failure?

In 2013, an unhappy customer of British Airways harnessed the power of Twitter social media to complain about his bad travel experience. When British Airways delayed responding, he took an unusual step of paid promotion of his tweets to reach BA followers. Approximately 406,000 followers of British Airways, who were mostly loyal customers, were informed about the carelessness and awful customer service of BA – badly hampering BA’s reputation. 

This is the power of Social Media. From a common layman to top corporate executives, everyone can be reached through social media. And even the slightest ignorance or sloppy customer service by the company in social media can create havoc for the brand. 

As per the study conducted by Rational Interaction, currently, 92.5% of brands fail to meet customer expectations on social media. From negative or misleading statements of customers to unauthorized employees talking on behalf of the company, everything can backfire if not treated properly. And this is not an affordable risk any modern business can take. 

But how to avoid such wrecking aspects of social media customer service? Let’s dig in. 

How to avoid social media customer service failure?

In 2020, Instagram turned 10 years old, Twitter 14 years old, Facebook 16 years old, and LinkedIn almost 18 years old. You have been using social media for long enough to know that using social media for businesses is not always sunshine and rainbows and it consistently carries potential disaster along with it. While there are good practices to ace social media customer service, here are a few tried and tested tips and tricks to avoid terrible social media customer service mistakes and avoid humiliation. 

Respond quickly

In the incident mentioned above, British Airways took 8 hours to respond to the tweets of their unhappy customer. While the customer service team of British Airways was loosening up and enjoying a good night’s sleep, the enraged customer took social media to express his dissatisfaction. 

According to a study, 53% of people who complain on social media expect a response from the companies within 60 minutes. But do you know, only 42% of the complainers get the response! No kidding. 

A customer who doesn’t get any response from companies in 60 minutes will be left high and dry and, of course, this builds retaliation towards the brand. That’s why companies should keep watch on comments and mentions in social media round the clock and should be able to respond as quickly as possible and 

Maintain a separate handle to support customers

According to a survey conducted by Conversocial, 86% of the customers are more likely to have brand loyalty when engaged and responded in social media.

For instance, big brands like Nike have one brand handle (@Nike) and another handle to manage customer service (@NikeSupport). Such different handles help in separating general conversations and complaints in social media and assists in managing customer service efficiently. 

Respond publicly

According to New Voice Media, 1/3rd of customers post online through comments/posts when offered with inadequate customer service.

If companies want to avoid a big-time social media customer service failure, they need to ensure that they respond to the complaint or feedback of the customers publicly first. The quick responses say to the world that the company cares for its customers. Afterward, they can either take a private route to chat and resolve the complaint or take it offline and resolve the issues. However, once it is resolved, it is good to send out a personalized message on social media to close the loop publicly. 

Maintain consistency in response

According to Gartner, a brand that fails to respond via social media channels can cause an increase of churn rate by 15% for existing customers. 

For organizations, it is important to look after every customer with the utmost care and respect. Hence, it is critical to respond to every post or comment from customers – irrespective of any aspect. In other words, every conversation can be a good opportunity to engage with your business patrons. And increased engagement is always good. 

Personalize the responses

Everyone loves it when it is personalized. Customers feel valued and appreciated when they receive customized replies on social media. This encourages customers to build an affectionate and loyal relationship with the brand. 

The personalized response doesn’t only indicate mentioning the name of customers while responding to their messages/comments, but also accessing the information about them from their social media profile and creating customer service solutions with a personal touch.  

How to survive social media customer service failure?

Bad social media customer service isn’t just embarrassing but also bad for the business. According to a study conducted by Five9, a cloud contact center provider, inadequate customer service can have a devastating result. After bad customer service, 

  • 85% of the consumers will retaliate against the brands
  • 49% of consumers will stop purchasing/interacting with the company
  • The consumers within the age range of 18 and 34 are three times more likely to vent their frustrations online, on social media. 

But despite what research says, we are all human beings. And to err is human. In such situations, how to sustain social media customer service failure? 

  • Identify customer service failure and acknowledge it 
  • Be sincere in apologizing and extend empathy
  • Resolve the issues
  • In case of unresolved issues, follow up with the customers
  • Handle the objections and negative feedback patiently
  • Be cordial with your customers and never go negative 
  • Be human, read the reviews/complaints, and respond calmly. Let your customers know you have read the messages and have responded
  • When there is a customer service failure, don’t hesitate to reassure the customers and provide an explanation on the same. Also, help your customers understand how you will resolve the issue
  • From the failures, learn the lessons. Analyze the problems and establish the learnings 

To summarize, social media customer service holds high stakes. A small mistake or one wrong move can inflict major damage to the brand image. That is why avoiding a disaster in social media customer service needs to be a part of the core business plan and strategy. However, when mistakes happen, ensure you put all your efforts to control the damage. 

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