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How Social Media Is Becoming the Strongest Customer Service Tool

How Social Media Is Becoming the Strongest Customer Service Tool

Forget the 800 number or the old-fashioned way of handling customer complaints via letter and in-person. The Internet has changed the game. Social media is now the way companies provide service to their customers via streams such as Facebook and Twitter.

Now, when a customer needs service or has a question or complaint, his or her online posts can be seen by the world. A company’s bad answer, or no answer at all, can have severe negative consequences and leave a less-than-favorable impression to potentially thousands of people. More and more companies are taking the innovative route of using social media and live-person customer support software to reach out to their customer base in a personable way that is attractive to today’s consumers.

Customer Service Innovation

At kissmetrics blog, you can read about the main reasons why live chat, for example, holds untapped potential for businesses. For one thing, it’s convenient, with immediate access to help. Live chat also cuts down on expenses , partly because a representative can handle multiple chats simultaneously, reducing the need for more reps.

Live chat can make or break a sale, depending on how the representative walks a customer through an issue. It also can bring “pain points,” or needs that need to be filled, to light. Marketers can either write new content or create benefits for advertising through live chat.

Handling Support

Since many retail businesses do not offer live chat, having this component gives a company a competitive edge. Business2Community has five steps to managing customer service complaints on social media.

First and foremost, it suggests, is the priority to respond quickly, with some companies trying to respond within an hour. Also, companies should think of a social-media complaint as a conversation, refraining from using a canned answer and customizing the response if possible.

If a customer is angry, customer service representatives shouldn’t be defensive because it might start an argument— something you definitely don’t want for your company. The company should control the tone of the comment by first apologizing for an issue and letting the customer know they are there to help.

The person handling the complaint for the company can request the customer’s direct contact information so details can be given them on the phone or perhaps a longer email conversation, all in private. After a problem is resolved, the company should go back to the original social media outlet and thank the customer for bringing the problem to its attention. Mainly, show the world there was a positive resolution.

Social Media for Customer Service

According to, handling customer complaints in the social media world is different than an advertising campaign. Almost all the advantages of being a company is lost as the discussion is played out on the small screen of a future or current customer’s computer. Therefore, the discussion has to be downsized. Be casual, informative and interactive, recommends. The company rep should think of relating to every member of the Internet audience as an individual, not as a group, when responding to a question on live chat, Facebook or Twitter.

There’s plenty of live chat software out there that could serve a small business’s needs. Small Business Shift recommends a web-based live chat service, with prices starting out as low as $20-30 per month for a basic product. Live chat and other social-media tools can provide a personal touch that can keep customers returning.

About Social Guy

Social Guy
Social Guy is a tech buff, online entrepreneur and social animal. He is best-known as the Editor-in-Chief of SOCIABLE, the world’s leading social media news source. Social Guy's 7+ year career with SOCIABLE began when he joined as a blogger in August 2007. Guy’s work has been quoted or featured in media such as ZDNet, Examiner, Marketwatch, PC Magazine, Wired, CNET, and The New York Times.