The webinar “How 2 Give GR8 #CustomerService & Have Your Followers ‘Like’ You in All Social Channels” was attended by hundreds of customer service and support professionals who submitted numerous questions during the webinar. Due to the time constraints of the event, Rich was unable to answer all of the great questions submitted; however he has been gracious enough with his time to answer each one within our blog.
Whether you attended the webinar or not, you may find that the answers to these questions may also help you understand how to leverage social media for better service.
If you did not attend the webinar, we invite you to watch it now. Share your thoughts and continue the discussion here.
Sure, silence CAN imply that we’re “not clued in” and “not connected”….but what about when the mention is a rant? Or has definite potential to negatively spiral out of control? How do we determine what’s safe and what’s too risky to respond to?
Excellent question. Remember that silence is a response too, so thoughtfully decide if your interests are best served by that response. In general, I prefer a strategy of providing at least *one* reasonable answer – especially when you and the “rant”-er are both branding yourselves in front of a public audience.
It seems there is a focus on negative feedback, is the majority of information out there negative?
Check out Facebook fan pages or online support communities for some of your own favorite products. I think you will find that the community itself reflects what they think of a business – for example, when a *good* company is criticized; people will generally come to its defense, while an unpopular one may provoke a feeding frenzy of criticism.
For example, I am currently finishing a masters degree at an accredited (and fairly well respected) online program. When someone posted a “rant” complaining about its distance learning format in its community, nearly 25 people responded, all defending the school! If your customers generally like you, you will often see similar outcomes.
What is the best way to send out a message on a fan page in Facebook?
Once you “like” a business fan page (using the “Like” button at the top of its page), you are generally able to post to its wall which can be a great soapbox for you to share your own opinions!
If you are fairly certain an ex-employee is the one complaining, how do you handle that situation?
Exactly the same way as any person who complains. Take the high road and respond in a way that is factual rather than defensive. That said, you often do have the option of “blocking” people who violate the standards of your online community, particularly if they are repeat offenders.
What do you think about the notion of relying on organized customer advocates to assist in customer service issues rather than relying exclusively on staff?
This is a fantastic idea *if* your company is big enough. You need a substantial economy of scale to have your own user community to respond to customers, unless you specifically groom (and reward) your own paraprofessionals. For the big players, like Apple and Microsoft, I personally often get much better answers from “the wisdom of crowds” than even the best support knowledgebase.
Our company has a high concentration of consumers whom are 65+ and have been loyal customers to our company. If a company focuses on social media in order to keep up with current trends does this not alienate those consumers who are not on Facebook, Twitter or who do not even have a computer at home?
When Carolyn Healey of SupportIndustry.com first proposed this webinar, she and I were discussing exactly the same issue – some companies (which shall remain nameless) seem to openly favor “trendy” social media support channels over their regular ones, leading unwittingly to a perception that they could give a “tweet” about their other customers.
In my view, social media should be just one channel in an integrated support environment – which in turn may mean re-thinking your entire support process around more interactivity and faster response.
Does Facebook sell our contact information?
How do you balance privacy needs with quick and open communication (specifically dealing with personal or financial type business transaction)?
Privacy is very important in a social networking environment, particularly because being contacted through Facebook or Twitter does not provide implied consent to disclose personal information. Combine a public response with a link to contact you: for example, a tweet saying, “We can accommodate your request. Contact us at (link) and we’ll have the details ready for you.”
How would you recommend responding to social media rants that contain mis/incorrect information?
By first acknowledging and validating the person’s concerns, then making a factual and non-defensive response. For example, “We completely respect your concerns about privacy. We share the same concerns as customers with families of our own. Regarding the issues you have raised, we want to reassure you that we do not, in fact, sell your contact information to third-world spies and computer hackers, as you state here.”
Can you explain the benefits of having a Facebook Page for a company?
Facebook is now the third-largest “country” in the world, with over 500 million users, most of whom visit daily, and many of whom spend hours on it. Increasingly, most major businesses now have a FB presence because that is where their customers are. And many consumers – particularly younger ones – are starting to expect you to have a social media presence as a way to connect with you.
Try dipping your toe in the water by setting up a FB fan page for your company – which is very easy to do – and then perhaps try Parature’s free monitoring tool to see what kind of activity you get, once you promote it.
How can or should companies budget for providing customer service using the social media discussed today?
I believe companies should budget for providing support, period, with social media being just one channel. Gary McNeil did a wonderful job of laying out the folly of trying to put social media support as a layer on top of your normal support process. And I will give a shameless plug for products like his Parature for FB – they get us closer to a world where social media seamlessly feeds in to an integrated support environment.
Can this concept be applied to the company’s normal Web support web site? Not just Facebook.
I’m going to ask my friends at Parature to answer this one.
Everything that Rich has communicated can be applied to all of your support channels. You should be using multiple integrated support channels to service your customers, and you can use Rich’s tips – acknowledge and validate concerns or issues; engage your customers, listen to them and make things right – in any support channel whether it’s a live chat, a phone call, a trouble ticket, or a social interaction. Social media is just one support channel that you should be leveraging.
For more strategies and techniques on how to effectively communicate with your customers, we invite you to watch some of our previous webinars with Rich.
Re: Consumerist.com…replying from the company could end up fueling the fire if readers don’t like or respect the response.
It certainly could, depending on the response. But in my view, no response is often the worst response of all. This is why I spent so much of this webinar discussing how to communicate in a social media world. You have to drop the officious corporate prose and speak honestly and authentically to consumers, if you hope to make a good impression. If your company is not organizationally prepared to do this, I agree, it may be best not to respond.
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