By: Jim Moul
More than ever before, many of your customer service interactions occur online. Whether it’s a potential buyer emailing with requests for information or a customer airing out a complaint on social media, appropriate and timely responses are a must.
While every situation is unique, there are some general guidelines to follow when it comes to great customer care in the online realm. Follow these suggestions and you’ll stand the best chance of maximizing your effectiveness while interacting with customers online.
Rule No. 1: Do your best to respond relatively quickly to comments, requests, and questions online. This is especially essential in the fast-paced, high-stakes world of social media. When a commenter is responded to in a timely fashion, they’ll feel heard and respected, even if they’re voicing a complaint. That gives you a leg up with even the most difficult customers.
Respond to Everything
Another good practice to follow is responding to everything, even if that means a simple “like” to let a commenter know that they’ve been heard. Responding to only certain comments or posts, while leaving others unanswered and ignored, isn’t a good look online. Remember, you and the commenter aren’t the only people viewing your exchange, so it’s important to project a friendly, helpful image at all times.
Take Difficult Situations Offline
When dealing with a difficult customer or a specific complaint via social media, it’s always best to take the situation offline when possible. Getting down in the mud with a customer over the internet won’t solve anything, and it only makes you look bad. You could even lose business from other clientele if a situation gets especially ugly.
Encourage the customer to speak with you in private, whether it’s over the phone or in person. This way, you won’t have other customers online viewing the exchange, and any sensitive information will remain offline throughout the whole interaction. You’re more likely to resolve a difficult situation quickly and without fuss when it occurs offline.
Beat Negative With Positive
Does your motorcoach operation have a few negative reviews online? Is there a customer who posted a public comment outlining a bad experience? Always combat negatives like these with a positive on your end. Encourage the customer to get in touch with you so that the situation can be resolved, and let them know that you’ll do everything in your power to make things right.
There’s just no way around it—nowadays, customer service isn’t just something that happens over the phone or at the front office. Practicing great customer service online, especially on social media, puts your business a step ahead of the competition.
Jim Moul is a freelance writer based on the East Coast.