Social media has become the instant feedback platform for brands to converse, engage and chat with their customers. As Anne Kedi Siade puts it during the #AfricaTweetChat sessions on Twitter, “Nowadays, social media is often the first place of interaction between a brand and its customers. You never get a second chance to make a good impression.” The first impression is everything. High chances are that you might chase away a potential client from how your brand is managed online starting with the kind of responses you give your audiences.
In this article, l will be highlighting some of the best quotes from Africa Tweet Chat where we had Lindo Myeni, a Social Media Strategist, who hails from South Africa as our special guest and those of the community members who joined the conversation. The topic was about social media customer service.
Near Perfect Customer Service
Social media has become quite crucial for brands of today because customers find it very convenient to communicate to brands faster and timely at their disposal rather than call or visit their offices. Therefore, brands need experts to handle this for them. Moreover, brands can market and communicate effectively to their audiences by use of experts who understand customer service at heart.
I love how Theodorah Manjo puts it:
A1. People want quick answers and nobody has the time to visit stores/companies or be on hold for 38 minutes on the phone.
The social media team needs to be on point and know what they are doing when dealing with online users ie their customers. #AfricaTweetChat https://t.co/Sbtteh7fy8
— Theodorah Manjo †♡ (@MissManjo) October 9, 2019
To add on the reasons why brands need the best social media customer service:
- For customer loyalty
- Less crisis with customers and fans
- Builds excellent brand authority
- To create relationships with customers easily
- Businesses thrive in reputation and great customer service makes that easy
- Customers love buying and being associated with the brand that responds quickly, engages them and ‘speaks’ their language
Negative Feedback From Customers
Customers love it when they are listened to. As a social media manager, don’t be afraid to apologize for inconvenience or a less-than-stellar experience to help diffuse a negative situation. Avoid canned responses at all costs and strive to make a human connection.
Lindo says that social media community managers should learn to acknowledge a customer’s issue as quickly as possible before it snowballs and picks up other customers and prospects on the way.
REMEMBER that social media is called social for a reason. So, you want to make sure you're connecting with your customers—whether it is good or bad. Make sure your response is precise & that you're showing customers that you really want to solve their problem #AfricaTweetChat https://t.co/WtwMUAfAiU
— TwittaNerd™ 👨🏾💻 (@LindoMyeni) October 10, 2019
To be on the safe side, always be calm and kind. Don’t let feelings get on your way. Otherwise, respond thoughtfully.
Hiring a Social Media Manager
Every business brand needs a social media manager but not all can manage hiring one. Partners in the business can choose to manage the platforms locally until when they feel comfortable to free themselves up of the duties and are ready to spend on an expert.
Does your brand really need a #SocialMedia manager?
Many a times we fear giving other people our brand account details because of security and many other reasons. But at times we can’t handle everything as much we want to be industrious.
— Janet Machuka (@janetmachuka_) October 9, 2019
When expanding your business and you need to shift brand marketing and advertising to social media you have to hire. Nevertheless, hire a social media manager if you don’t have time or you don’t know what to do.
As for Felix Kyebanakolanga,
A3: A brand should hire a social media manager when they think it's the right time they needed one 😅 #AfricaTweetChat https://t.co/EF9UrSRjre
— Felix Kyebanakolanga (@felixadvise) October 9, 2019
One way to achieve the best social media customer service is to always be aware of the brand mentions and act on them accordingly. This is why we have social media listening tools which every social media manager ought to employ. For instance, brands can invest in Brand24, Sprout Social, Hootsuite among other tools to ensure that audiences are answered to satisfaction, appreciated and get their feedback about your brand as well as be able to monitor your competitors and possible leads to reach out to.
According to Francis Yaw Gidiga Alfafa,
A. It's actually one of the most important things to do. It actually keeps social media managers informed of what people think of their brands, and also informs them as to whether they're doing the right thing or not. #AfricaTweetChat https://t.co/ontG4Im0yn
— Francis Yaw Gidiga (@alfafa_GH) October 9, 2019
Automated Responses for Customer Service
Not really but most people don’t like automated responses unless they are promising to get back later and they surely do. Otherwise, some automated responses might not communicate the needed response. This can make customers angry and furious.
Nevertheless, some automated responses are highly impersonal, some are spammy, lack true engagement and might not feel authentic. Barrack Onyango finds automated responses helpful when one is not in the office, busy elsewhere as long as they employ human to human communication.
Not at all,in fact they’re helpful,take for example when you’re out of office and you don’t want to leave your customers in the cold. But,remember to always follow back on the customers to answer to their queries and interact with them. #AfricaTweetChat
— Barrack Onyango™ (@barryonyango) October 9, 2019
Marketers are faced with ever-growing list of responsibilities. From social media marketing to customer experience. There is a need to employ tools, 15+ Customer Support Tools Every Support Team Needs, to ease their work. Customers expect nothing less. They want to be responded to timely and in a satisfying manner regardless of the tone they used to ask for the response.
Hence, social media customer service providers should be equipped with high emotional intelligence so that they can be sound mind of how they should respond to the customers and meet their expectations. We understand social media managers are human too but responding in kind costs nothing but being rude can cost the brand its entire reputation that takes a lot of time and effort to build.
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