Week Four Social Media Series: Which Social Media Sites Should I Use for My Strategy? Part Two: Customer Service Improvement


This week we’ll offer viable social media sites and platforms you can use to implement a customer service improvement strategy. (We’ll be sharing the same type of information for the remaining example social media strategy—networking—next week).

Disclaimer: What follows are only suggested sites and/or platforms, and ways of using them. There may be other platforms that can work just as well—or even better—for your business and needs. All sites and platforms mentioned below work toward the goal of improving customer service by being able to respond online to customer issues.


Twitter
Twitter allows you to post 140-character “tweets” of your latest news, happenings, announcements, stories, ideas, and opinions. You can follow any user to read their tweets, and any user can follow you.
 
Twitter came on the scene in 2004, and since then the number of registered accounts has hit close to the 500 million mark.* But whether you choose to tweet or not, you can still get the latest real-time information from the people you follow, which is why Twitter is so good for quickly noticing and addressing customer issues.
 
First, make sure your customers are on Twitter.. Then get started by signing up for an account and following them. Check out the Twitter basics page to learn all about setting up your profile, how to find and follow people, tweets and messages, and other pertinent information.
 
When your customers tweet complaints or mention issues with your products or services, try the following: 
  • respond to the user as quickly as possible. Even if you can resolve a problem or situation immediately, acknowledging the user and letting them know you have heard them is key. Try not to let a tweet go unanswered for more than an hour.
  • be friendly and relatable in your approach; the goal is for the customer to feel like they’re having a face-to-face interaction as much as possible

 

For power users of Twitter, TweetDeck is a downloadable application that lets you monitor and manage several Twitter accounts at once, as well as receive notification alerts for new tweets. With TweetDeck, you can boost your use of Twitter and therefore better handle multiple accounts and multiple customer issues.

Your investment: No cost to sign up; time involved to monitor your Twitter feed(s) and respond to issues.
 
 
Skype

 Skype allows you to make voice and video calls and chat over the Internet via instant messaging with other users (your customers). Users can call your online phone number and you can answer the call on Skype.

 Skype can be accessed and used from anywhere, so it’s also a great way to have “face time” with the customers you have who may not be local.
 
Approximately 35% of small businesses are now using Skype as their primary communications service.** So consider how beneficial just the video calls and chat portion of Skype can be for your own business (if you’re not up for making it your primary communications service).
 
Get started by signing up for an account. Also go to their Business page to read about how Skype can work specifically for small and medium businesses.
Consider using Skype to:
  • give real-time demonstrations to new or existing customers
  • provide real-time technical support
  • allow customers to show you—via video call—the exact issue they might be having with your product, so you are more apt to find a swift solution for them

 

Your investment: Skype’s plans vary from Free up to Premium subscriptions at $9.99/month (see the Prices page for details); time involved to monitor calls and resolve customer issues.
 
 Now What?

 The information we gave you here should give you a running start to implementing a customer service improvement strategy. 

 If your strategy is all about networking, be sure to read next week’s article “Which Social Media Sites Should I Use for My Strategy? Part Three: Networking.”
 
We’ll then close out this entire series by talking about what to measure and how to determine your level of success.
 
*Source: http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/twitter-active-total-users_b17655, January 13, 2012
** Source: http://www.statisticbrain.com/skype-statistics/, March 28, 2012
 
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