Can you hear that?That’s the sound of a customer clicking the refresh button to your company’s website or checking their email, waiting for some sort of response. Nothing frustrates a customer more than being tied down with the hopes of getting a response from a support agent, only to be met with some dreaded hold music (Opus 1, anyone?).
Accessibility and transparency are key to earning your customer’s trust, so why deny them their rights?As social media has become an integral part of our daily lives, reaching your audience has never been easier.
So, it’s no secret that social media is today’s greatest and most effective tool for engaging with your audience. We’re living in an age of socialized customer service, so it’s time you mobilize and utilize social media to your advantage!
Everything you need in 140 characters.
Social media is a loud place to compete for business. Don’t be intimidated by the noise, because there’s good news: that’s where your audience is! Consumers spend an average of at least 37 minutes every day on social media, and with the availability and adoption of smartphones and tablets, online traffic is only increasing. Use this to your advantage!
Let’s take a closer look at the scenario above. Do you want to take a guess as to why your customer is frustrated? That’s because no one likes waiting! Do you know the phrase “instant gratification?” The key word here is instant. People expect fast responses and direct answers. More and more people are opting out of phone calls to satisfy their customer service needs.
The solution to your problem is a fast-paced platform to connect and communicate with your audience. In other words, the solution to your problem is Twitter.
“67 percent of consumers use a company’s social media site for customer service.”
And the younger the customer is, the more likely they’re going to use these social media sites for customer service purposes. Twitter is a quick and direct way to get in touch with your customer. It’s also a great way to present your brand in a genuine, forthcoming, and problem-solving manner.
Speed is the name of the game
Responding to your customers is only as important as your company’s image and reputation. Today, more than 70 percent of users expect to hear back from a brand they interact with on social media. They also expect a response within the hour. If you value your customers, implement a policy in order to maintain a quick response time. Say a customer tweeted you with a question or complaint. This is your chance to show your willingness to provide solutions, to create a positive brand image, to show transparency and accessibility, and to increase audience engagement on Twitter.
Don’t forget about quality
It’s not only the speed of the response, but also the quality of response that matters. When responding to consumers, there are certain things you can do to increase engagement and create quality responses:
Personalize your responses! Not only does this increase engagement by 20 percent, but it shows your brand's personal side.
Be expressive! Don’t be afraid to use punctuation ; such as ! or ?, but don’t overdo it. Showing enthusiasm increases engagement and allows you to convey a tone to your audience that is sincere and caring as opposed to an arrogant one.
Provide appropriate knowledge to the customer. Based on the situation, you can ask for clarification and provide them with new information. Be sure the information you give them is valuable to their situation and will help solve their problem.
If the problem you’re responding to requires a longer conversation, consider moving to direct message, or even offline. However, responding publicly will help maintain the transparency of your brand.
The Secret is in the #Hashtag
Hashtags are a great way to increase your presence on social media and join the conversation. Hashtags make it easy to search by industry, conversation, or what's trending on the web. Hashtags make it easier to be discovered online, and for a small business, this is an ideal property to utilize. Using hashtags with terms related to your business increases brand awareness on all web platforms. People will become more aware of your presence organically.
The power of the #hashtag has even doubled audience engagement in social media alone!
Make sure your hashtags are simple and consistent, and only use one or two per tweet. The best part about hashtags is that they’re able to translate into many other social media platforms!
One of the most important things you can do as a business is establish yourself as a resource for your audience beyond your products. For example, you should tweet industry-related articles and updates to your followers, share news stories, and participate in relevant discussions. This way, you’re providing value to your customers while also staying up to date on the latest news in your industry.
Not all social is created equal
Although social media platforms are built differently, many of them use the same principles. While you’ll have greater character flexibility in other platforms, be sure you use the same Twitter etiquette mentioned above. Your goal is to connect with your audience, to communicate with them, and to present yourself as a trusting and reliable source.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to your audience, and remember:
Make sure you are personable, accessible, transparent, and genuine.
Present yourself as a resource to your audience beyond your products.
Use hashtags to join the conversation and direct your audience to you.
Fast and quality responses are key.
Have any more questions or thoughts you want to share? Then join us on Twitter and #AskYtel.
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Hanna manages Ytel's Communications strategy and has worked in Marketing for five years. She has a Master's in Communications and is passionate about connecting customers and businesses by building authentic relationships online.