Using social media to provide your customers with real-time customer service

In today’s fast-paced world, it has never been more critical to reach and interact with customers in real-time.

When it comes to customer service or a solution to an issue, customers want an answer as soon as possible. While most are still okay receiving an answer within 24 hours, a quick response goes a long way for the reputation of your business. Also, a lot can happen in just a few short hours. Rumors and negative comments need to be taken care of as soon as possible.

According to a 2013 Oracle RealTime report, nearly two-thirds of customers use social media to connect with brands. Half of these customers expect immediate responses to their inquiries and nearly one-third thought that social sites would give them direct access to the company’s customer service representative.

When big snowstorms hit the East, Delta Air Lines customers took to Twitter to complain. Delta realized this and took this opportunity to provide its customers with great real-time service by responding to these tweets and helping them to rebook their flights.

Incorporating social media into customer service is a very important way to let your consumers know you care about them and to provide the real-time service your customers crave. However, you don’t just want to interact with them by making one post or sending one tweet and walking away. If they make a comment, respond as soon as you see it and can appropriately answer.

Helping and responding to your customers needs through Twitter allows them to get their needs met faster. When those needs are met, customers are more likely to tweet about their experience and share their satisfaction. If a complaint on Twitter is addressed immediately, it can become a positive interaction by showing your customer that you take all communication, negative or positive, seriously. Consumers will likely feel as though they have received a more personal support experience. Their followers and your followers are able to see their satisfaction and in turn can provide you with marketing; thus, more customers all for free.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Respond quickly.

Make sure you have a dedicated person or team monitoring your social media so you can quickly respond to comments, both positive and negative.

2. Take the conversation offline.

Take the conversation offline. Once you have made initial contact with the consumer online, give them a direct number to reach you to move the conversation offline.

3. Keep emotions in check.

Do not ever angrily or sarcastically respond to a customer on social media. Strive to be diplomatic and neutral in all communications.

Social media has put a whole new spin on customer service and by now, you know that you should be monitoring what consumers are saying about your brand online. It is more important than ever for companies to keep up with this aspect of their business and use it to their benefit to put a new dimension to their service efforts.