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Best Practices for Social Customer Service

Part of the Social CRM For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Customer service is critical to the health of a company. Businesses that engage in social customer service reach customers on social platforms, dig for customer insights, and invest in and value customer relationships.

To keep your social CRM and resulting social customer service on track, follow these best practices as your business incorporates social media into its customer service:

  • Know your business goals before you develop your social customer service tactics. If your company rushes headlong onto social platforms without understanding what its goals are, you can waste time and resources.

  • Understand that you can't fake customer relationships. One of the hallmarks of social media is authenticity. A customer can tell everyone on Facebook that your customer service is a joke or a gem. People know the real thing. Make sure you have empowered your customer service representatives and other staff so that they can truly respond to customers' needs. Authentic service helps you gain and keep customers' trust.

  • Your business must constantly monitor the web, because you must be alert to potential problems. Plan to check in on your social platforms much more often than once a week. If you don't assign one or more employees (depending on company size) to constantly monitor your social media accounts, you're penny-wise and pound-foolish. If you're the last to know about some terrible problem with your product or service, it might be too late to save your company's reputation.

  • To provide customers with the content they need, learn where your customers consume information, read reviews, and follow news. This follows the old adage, "fish where the fish are." You can't expect to change your customers' long-established online habits. If they communicate on Twitter, you aren't going to get them to come to your website's newsroom to read boring press releases.

  • To know what your customer wants, your research and communication must be ongoing. It's not a one-time thing. Social media takes time. When you add it as a layer to your social CRM, you'll need to take the time to make the data make sense. Don't be frustrated that you don't immediately know how to value it. The benefits of social CRM accrue gradually over time.

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