Social media is being used these days as a venue for customer service by a lot of businesses. There are many factors that contribute to your success in social media customer service outsourcing or in-house, and one of them involves your social media team.
Your customer representatives on social media must of course be very adept in using the platforms. However, you must also remember that even though your customers can’t see them, and vice versa, there is still a human aspect involved. In any human interaction, people skills are necessary in order to facilitate great conversations and build better relationships.
Your social media team must therefore have the following social skills.
Your social media team will be dealing with a lot of different people with various personality types. This requires your customer representatives to have an outgoing personality. In an article on the New Radar called “Skills Your Social Media Guru Should Have“, the author states that you must “choose a candidate who is just as energetic and engaging in person as they are online. You want somebody who likes people and likes interacting and networking.”
2. Kindness and Empathy
It’s sometimes a natural reaction to be defensive when customers are complaining about something. But that is the last thing you want to do. Showing kindness and empathy instead will make your customers feel understood and cared for. Michael Todd says, in his article “Tips for Better Customer Service on Social Media“, that it is essential “to be genuine in your voice and tone so they feel as if they are talking to another human being rather than an operator. By replying back to them and working through a solution with them, customers will be grateful for the time spent to make sure they’re happy in the end.”
3. Attentive and Responsive
Customers hate it when you take too long to respond or worse, don’t respond at all. Your social media customer service team must not only track all brand mentions but also take the time to acknowledge them. Zendesk, in their published whitepaper called “Customer Service Skills You Need“, suggests responding as quickly as possible, in 10 minutes or less. They also suggest responding publicly for support requests rather than getting the customer’s contact info first and following up in another channel.
Being responsive doesn’t mean that you must respond to baiting or any attempt for public altercation. No matter how tempting it is, your social media customer service representatives must practice restraint in certain situations or risk falling prey to the Streisand Effect.
According to Micah Solomon’s article, “5 Social Media Customer Service Best Practice to Handle (Or Prevent) Customer Complaints“, the Streisand Effect was named after Barbra Streisand, who had an aggressive reaction to free expression when she sued a photographer for failure to remove a photo of her mansion from the California Coastal Records Project. The lesson here is that businesses must never threaten a customer, online or not, because this can easily backfire on you.
No product, service or company is perfect. There might come a time when your customer representatives won’t have a solution for a problem. They must be humble enough to own up to it.
Sylvia Browder, in her article “5 Customer Service Mistakes to Avoid When Using Social Media“, says that we shouldn’t give up on the customer’s needs just because we don’t have a solution. She further says that “a simple solution is to ask your client for more time to research and promise to respond as soon as you have a resolution.”
No matter what business you have, you must place a high regard on professionalism. Your customer representatives represent your company and so they must project the image of your business as well, even on social media. In her article “Showing Personality and Professionalism in Social Media”, Gretchen Bulan says that “more people will be willing to pay money for what you have to offer if you appear honest, trustworthy and professional.”
When you hire members for your social media customer service team, these are the social skills you must look out for. Having these social skills will contribute greatly not only to the success of your efforts but also to the happiness and satisfaction of your customers.