It’s an age-old saying in business: The customer is always right. And with the internet and social media taking the world by storm, it’s even easier for customers to give you their criticisms, praise and questions faster than ever before – and in a more public way.
With Facebook timelines being the new “comment box,” here are some tips on good online customer service.
Don’t Delete the Bad
When you get a negative comment on social media sites, your gut reaction might be to simply delete it. And yes, in some cases, this would be appropriate. If someone posts something that you would deem offensive to you or your customers, this would be cause to delete a comment. But when it comes to a complaint about your service or a heated comment about and experience with your business, it may actually work in your favor to leave the comment up.
Instead of deleting the comment, you can address it, by apologizing and either asking how you can help resolve the issue or by offering up an immediate solution. If you would like, you can choose to take the conversation offline by providing an email that they can reach you at.
Don’t Ignore the Good
If someone takes the time to give you a positive review on social media, be sure to take the time to thank them. Public praise is sometimes rare, and they should show that you are grateful for their kind words. Never leave a comment without a reply or a like.
You can go a step further by offering up social media-only deals, too. For instance, if you want to thank your Facebook fans for their loyalty, you can tell them that if they mention that particular status to you, they can save 10% on your product or service. Coming up with creative ways to thank your online community can lead to better sales and engagement.
A Delicious Example
One morning, I sat down at my desk to eat a Luna Bar, a women’s nutrition bar made by the company Clif Bar. I love Luna Bars because they are healthy, quick and tasty, but when I bit into this one, I was disappointed to find out that it was stale. Being part of the social media generation, I immediately took to Twitter to remark that my stale breakfast was a less-than-desirable start to my day, tagging @lunabar in my tweet.
Soon after, I got a reply from Luna Bar apologizing and asking for me to directly message them my address so that they could send me a replacement. I publically thanked them and then sent them a private message with my address. They even took the time to ask me which Luna Bar flavor was my favorite. A few days later, I got a package in the mail.
Not only did I get my replacement nutrition bar, but I got a chapstick in the same flavor and a hand-written note. While I have always enjoyed buying Luna Bars for their flavor and convenience, I will now continue to buy them – probably for life – because I know that they truly care about the needs of their customers.
Apply the Same Rules Online and Off
When it comes to great customer service online, the simplest thing you can do is to apply the same tactics you use when you are working with a customer or client face-to-face. Learn to take the good with the bad and your customers will praise you for your calm, cool, and customer-friendly attitude.