Blog Post by Sarah Malcolm, Chief Digital Strategist at The News Funnel
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The recent United Airlines fiascos will not soon be forgotten. The viral video of the doctor dragged off the plane exemplifies how poor customer service damages a brand. Unfortunately, they’re not alone: see American Airlines, Applebee’s, and Amy’s Baking. In a world where a video can be shared with a million people in minutes, it's critical to understand the role social media plays in customer service. According to Nielsen research, over a third of customers now prefer to engage with brands using social media rather than asking questions via telephone or email. More importantly, they expect a response fairly rapidly. Rather than dread the social feedback, view a social customer service query or review as a chance to truly shine and win them over.
The point of content marketing
Content marketing done well isn't directly promoting your brand services, but at its core, content does provide customer service. The blogs and other shared curated content exist to inform and help readers with their pain points. Showcasing your expertise and brand value through content marketing is an added bonus.
Remember customers search for web content to help them solve a problem. Engagement comes into play when they interact with the content you publish. Sometimes the comments are of the “thanks” variety, but on other occasions, customers will pose a question about their problem. This is great! Their engagement shows they found your content valuable and view you as an expert.
Reviews and their impact
When someone leaves a positive review on your social networks, it demonstrates your current customer base trusts your product or service. Conversely, negative reviews handled poorly damage the brand and turn away potential customers. Dissatisfied reviews don’t always need to be damning, though. Treat social media complaints as an opportunity for customer service skills to shine. In order for this to work, someone needs to be monitoring the social networks on a regular basis. Speed is of the essence when responding to customer complaints because a customer that has a positive social customer service experience is three times more likely to recommend the brand.
Why social customer service matters
Remember, it's harder to attract new customers than it is to keep the existing ones. Excellent customer service improves your bottom line by retaining the customers you have. Failing to respond to a customer query on a social media channel can increase the turnover rate. A mishandled crisis will exist on the Internet for years to come, but so do positive comments.
Online customer service begins with quality, informative content to draw readers into the brand. When a customer engages on a social network, you not only solving their problem but showing your current and potential future customers how you handle social speed bumps. A positive review is just icing on the news feed.