Social Media Response Survival Guide

Social media has made communicating with customers much easier. It has also made it easier for customers to communicate with businesses. But not all of those customer interactions are positive ones. Customers often use social media to contact or talk about companies when they’ve had an unsatisfactory experience.

So whether you’re receiving nice compliments, complaints, or other types of comments, you should know how to respond to customers who reach out to you on social media. Your competitors are doing it. And your customers expect it. So here are some tips to help you keep your social media savvy customers happy.

Monitor Your Mentions

Social media is becoming one of the most common methods for customers to reach out to brands. That means that you should monitor your messages, mentions and other communications just like you would your email. In addition, if you have any designated brand hashtags, you should regularly check those as well.

Sometimes, customers might not intend to contact you directly on social media. Instead, they might just mention your brand or products in a post without tagging your account. Not all of these posts will necessarily warrant a response, but if someone has a specific question or complaint, it’s always a best practice to reach out to them – and the sooner, the better.

Respond to Complaints Right Away

If customers have a question or complaint, the worst thing you can do is nothing. The best thing you can do is respond in a timely manner – and for social media, the bar has been raised substantially. Even if you don’t have all the information or an answer to their question or complaint, be sure to let them know that you received their message and are working to find a satisfactory solution or answer. Or ask them questions so that you can fully understand the situation.

NOTE: Most research on customer expectations when it comes to social media indicate a response or acknowledgement in one hour or less is required.

Keep Them Updated on Your Progress

If the question or issue is complicated and requires some time for you to come up with a solution, provide regular updates so that your customer knows you haven’t forgotten them. For example, if your customer has an issue with a product they ordered online and would like a replacement, you should let them know that you received their complaint, then tell them when you’ve sent the replacement. You should also follow up with them to make sure they’ve received the replacement and are satisfied with it.

Keep the Conversation Public

If possible, try and keep the conversation on the same forum where it started. So if a customer reaches out to you on Twitter, continue to respond to them on Twitter rather than asking them to email you. In certain instances, it might be necessary to move the conversation to email, particularly if personal information or lengthy responses are involved. But it can also be beneficial to keep the conversation public if that’s where it started out.

When a customer complains or posts an issue publicly, it can be beneficial to your brand to also have the solution easily visible publicly. That way, the customer’s followers who saw the initial complaint will also see that you handled it in a satisfactory manner.

Don’t Forget About Positive Interactions

It’s not just complaints or negative comments that warrant a response. You can (and should) also interact with customers when they share a positive sentiment about your brand or products. Even just a simple “thank you” or “glad you like our product” can keep your customers engaged with your brand.

(source)