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Should Your Company Use Social Media for Customer Service?

Social media is something that many companies have a difficult relationship with. They understand that it’s important, and they understand the need to engage with their customers, but they’re not entirely sure how to use social media services effectively. Most companies already monitor what people are saying about them on social services, and have some form of presence for marketing, but they’re unsure how to respond to the messages people post online, and fear that an inconsistent or incorrect response is worse than no response at all.

While some of the concerns faced by small businesses are valid, that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad idea to offer support online. Social media is the default communications channel for many people, and if you provide support through it, you will generate a lot of goodwill.

Social Media is For Everyone

A few years ago, social media was the domain of techies and early adopters. Today, that is no longer the case. People of all ages, demographics, and levels of technical literacy are using social media, and many people prefer reaching out to companies online over using traditional contact centre services. If you’re not out there talking to people online, you’re cutting off a huge chunk of your customer base.

Social Media is Two Way Communication

Using social media as an advertising platform, rather than an engagement platform, is a sure-fire way to lose customers and goodwill. Social media is designed for two-way communication, and that means everything from accepting and responding to feedback, to soliciting suggestions, and answering support questions. Employing social media in addition to your existing contact centre services could save your customers a lot of time, and put you closer to your customers. You may end up with a higher volume of support requests, but the ones coming from social channels will be easy to track, and could provide you with a lot of information about flaws in your products.

You Don’t Have to Go it Alone

You’ve probably seen the PR horror stories about angry company representatives tweeting aggressive messages which go viral, destroying a brand overnight. If you’re worried about your own brand suffering a similar fate, then why not consider outsourcing your social media management?

Many brands that offer contact centre services also provide social media and Web 2.0 services. If you don’t have people in-house that are well-trained in brand management, then letting an expert take over can be a good idea. If you do decide to run your own social media support service, make sure you have separate accounts for business and personal interactions.

The Internet is a great leveller, and allows small companies to compete with big corporations on an even footing. Don’t sell your company short by assuming that only major companies and retailers are worthy of Twitter accounts, Facebook Fan Pages, and other social media offerings.  Having a presence online is just as important for a small business as having a telephone support hotline.

Article written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Maintel, specialists in contact centre services.

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5 Replies

  1. I agree more benefits can come from using social media for customer service than not.

  2. In a way, social media does help for customer services because a lot of people are now active on social media sites. So it is more likely, social media are great on this.

  3. I enjoyed reading the article. It’s up to the company whether or not they utilize social media for their customer service, but I’d just like to add that I’ve always been a happy customer when companies do so, for example, Media Temple noticed a complaint of mine about some downtime and I was rewarded with two months of free hosting.

    It shows that they care, because they’re going out of their way to do it – it’s almost like they’re some sort of guardian.

  4. Great post, I really enjoyed reading this and I am going to be following future posts of yours. Thank you for sharing.

  5. I totally agree with you. In my companies – everybody think that social media is done by the marketing guys.. but infact .. everybody also the custom service guys should use it.. totally agree…

    best regards

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