Social Customer Support Is Key To Customer Loyalty
Social media sites are more than great places to post information about your dealership and share links and comments with your followers. They are great listening posts, too. Are you listening for customer support issues as well as other types of conversations? Taking note of customer complaints — and responding to them – can significantly strengthen customer loyalty.
• It’s human nature.
Nothing makes a negative situation worse than ignoring your unhappy customer. They can quickly go from mildly annoyed to irate. And if they were irate to begin with, well, it won’t be good.
Unfortunately, it has always been true that customers share bad experiences more often than good. With the advent of social networks, that message of mistreatment can instantly spread to thousands of people, not just the few your customer might tell in person. The magnitude alone underscores the critical importance of social customer support.
Besides, sometimes customers are merely asking a question. They’re hoping for – no, they expect – an answer. After all, social interactions are about two-conversation. So here are some ways you can overtly use social media to provide top-notch customer support:
• Respond right away.
The longer a problem festers, the bigger it will get, at least in your customer’s mind. You don’t want them to feel ignored on top of whatever was originally bothering them. So make it your policy to respond as soon as you detect a complaint. If you can’t provide an instant answer or resolution, at least note that you’ve heard them and you’re working on their problem.
If it’s going to take longer than you thought to find a resolution, stay in touch with your customer, so they know you haven’t forgotten them.
• Make sure you aren’t missing complaints or questions.
You can’t respond quickly – or at all – if you’re unaware of the post to begin with. Monitoring all your dealership’s social sites continuously is unreasonable, because your people have other work to do. And you can miss things. For example, on average less than a third of tweets about your dealership will actually include your Twitter handle. Automated monitoring tools work continuously behind the scenes to uncover questions and feedback.
• Do not automate your responses.
It’s one thing to use technology to find complaints, etc., but make sure a real person is responsible for posting responses. Social media users are savvy enough to quickly detect robo-responses and “form letters,” and you’ll only exacerbate the problem.
Besides, unless your dealership has serious customer service challenges, you shouldn’t have many negative posts to begin with. Personalize your responses to show you care.
• Sometimes, a lighter tone works wonders.
Not every complaint is a critical issue. When it feels appropriate, using a little humor or a more casual tone will help win over your unhappy customer. You’ll be on the road to a better relationship.
• Not every problem should be “social.”
Occasionally, an issue may crop up that should not receive a detailed public response. Very serious or personal complaints, responses that require you to divulge personal information about someone, etc. should all be handled privately, one on one. Contact the customer individually, by phone or email, to continue the conversation. But do post a social response, taking note of the problem and saying you plan to discuss it privately.
Social customer support offers other distinct advantages for your dealership.
Resolving problems with individual customers is a must. But social interactions are visible to many, so solving one person’s problem enables you to speak indirectly to everyone. You can:
- Demonstrate your dealership is on top of things
- Demonstrate that you not only listen, but follow up
- Explain the “fix” to your entire following
- Head off similar problems before they occur
You aren’t merely addressing problems after the fact, you’re working proactively to make sure all your customers have the best possible experience with your dealership and your products and services. That’s the kind of dealership people want to work with long term. And long-term customer loyalty is priceless.