There’s a certain kind of anxiety that sets in when a customer complains about something in a social place, like Facebook or Twitter. It’s there for (what seems like) the entire world to see, and your actions and language are put under a microscope when handling customer issues on social media.
It’s easy to think, “Why is this person complaining on Facebook or Twitter instead of calling us?” The answer is simple—social media is a form of instant communication, and in our fast-paced culture, consumers are not willing to wait. Already, 67% of consumers have used a company’s social media for service, and 33% would rather use social media than calling someone on the phone. Customers often demand—and expect—instant service, and boutique fitness is no exception.
With the industry continuing to change and your customers’ expectations for high-quality, immediate service skyrocketing, it’s hard to know where to start in terms of handling customer service on social media. Below, we share our tips for delivering a great experience—no matter what the medium.
AVOID BECOMING COMBATIVE OR ARGUMENTATIVE
The best and first rule of thumb when handling customer service inquiries on social media is to avoid becoming combative or defensive. While you may read a complaint and your immediate thought is, “This customer is absolutely wrong and we have the proof to show it,” the rest of your social following doesn’t know that—nor do they need to. If you respond with the intent to correct the customer or defend your position, you run the risk of coming off as insensitive to, or even careless about, client needs. The best first step you can take is to apologize and offer a solution.
RESPOND TO EVERYTHING
It’s easy to see a minor complaint and think, “This isn’t a big deal—I just won’t respond.” But that’s a mistake. Each inquiry, complaint and/or praise on social platforms should have at least one back and forth dialogue with the company, even if one person complains multiple times. In fact, failing to respond to social customer service can lead to a 15% increase in churn of existing customers. In order to stay ahead of your competition, make sure someone is taking the time to respond to everything via social channels. If it helps, have a dedicated social media squad comprised of studio managers, front desk staff or marketing team members that can respond to social media inquiries on a rotating basis. Just make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of voice and messaging so you remain consistent with your brand.
KNOW WHEN TO TAKE THE CONVERSATION OFFLINE
If there’s one thing customers hate more than slow service, it’s having to use multiple channels to contact a brand. Going from Twitter to email to phone can be a massive headache. In fact, only 2% of customers who first contacted a brand via social media asked for a phone number or email address first. That being said, sometimes you’ll need more than 140 characters to resolve an issue, or need private information from a customer that should not be shared publicly. A good practice to follow is resolve everything in the same medium in which a customer first contacted you, and if there is anything that will require additional back and forth or need for private information to be revealed, request from the beginning that the customer send you a direct message.
SHOW LOVE FOR YOUR HAPPY CUSTOMERS
Not all social media touchpoints with customers are complaints! It’s equally as important to engage with your community of fans, customers and brand loyalists who are taking the time to connect with your brand on social in a positive and exciting way. In a study conducted by Bain and Co., companies who respond to and engage with their consumers on social media found that those customers were likely to spend 20-40% more with the company over time. If a customer is taking the time to say how much they love your company or product and share that with their network, it’s imperative that someone in your company takes the time to show appreciation with a response back.