Customer service is defined as: “the assistance and advice provided by a company to those people who buy or use its products or services” according to Oxford Dictionaries.
If you have purchased a product, gone to a restaurant, or called a company for assistance about a product or service, you have experienced customer service. The quality of the customer service you receive from a specific company shapes your opinion of said company. If you experience poor customer service from a company which leaves you frustrated, without answers, and/or the feeling of lack of care, then you are less likely to revisit that company again.
For example, imagine you have just purchased the latest and greatest high-speed, internet modem. After completing the installation, you find yourself without internet. After attempting to fix the problem yourself and re-reading the instructions, you find the customer service line. When you call, the person on the other end of the phone is reading off a script, sending you from person to person, not answering your questions, and cutting you off midsentence. You hang up, still with no internet connection, and you are left feeling frustrated and angry. The customer service line that is intended to help you through the process has been no help whatsoever. As a result, you are unlikely to purchase any other products from company ABC again, and you may even return the product you just purchased.
Now, imagine a time that you have called, emailed, or otherwise confronted the customer service of a specific company and you received top-notch service. They treated you well, heard your complaints, and sufficiently answered your questions. As a result, you left feeling satisfied, and you are more likely to return to that company in the future for repeat business. You’re also likely to refer them to someone else.
In today’s technological world, customer service is a must-have for all companies. Whether it be through the phone, in person, or on a social platform, an organization must provide quality customer service to maintain and grow its business.
But how do you create quality customer service online? Here are a few suggestions:
Respond, don’t react
After receiving a complaint or negative comment on a social platform, it is in our nature to defend our company. However, it is crucial for your business, as a whole, to refrain from reacting and responding instead. Take the time to craft a response that positively reflects your brand.
It’s important that you don’t wait too long though. According to a stat via an article on the Convince and Convert blog, 42% of responders to The Social Habit research expected a response from a company they tried to contact within 60 minutes.
Although we oftentimes want to let social notifications go, we cannot. Make sure that you are responding to your online audience on a daily basis at the very least. It may be uncomfortable receiving a negative comment; but in order for your company to display good customer service online, you must acknowledge the person and his or her comment(s). This may require an @mention or a direct message.
“A thoughtful and positive response can come as such a surprise to an online critic that it can help to convert the critic into your advocate.” – Forbes
Provide the resources they need
When helping people resolve their issues, make sure you provide them with the resources they need. If you do not know the answer, refer them to someone who does.
Take credit for your faults
Don’t be afraid to apologize and take credit for your brand’s faults. Although we may want to delete the comment from our social platforms, we are all human and make mistakes. Apologize for the mishap and take time to correct it.
Every business has a competitor. With quality customer service, you can avoid losing a customer or client to a company that is providing better customer care. It is your responsibility as a business owner to take care of your customers. Strive for referrals and retain your customers for years to come with customer service that WOWs your audience.
For some examples of companies that have notoriously handled their online customer service well, check out Business News Daily’s article “10 Companies That Totally Rock Customer Service on Social Media.”