Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
Can you improve your customer relations department through social networking? Absolutely. These days it is almost necessary to have a social media account. Not because you want one, but because you need one to respond to posts and comments. It does not matter if you are a company of hundred's or a home business of one, you should think about having at least one social media account. Make your online presence known.
E-mail is one of the most common methods of quick and easy communication with companies and customers. However, more and more we are seeing posts where customers share their dissatisfaction about a company or its service on public platforms such at Twitter, Facebook or in a private group. Your business reputation can be mud or gold with the touch of a finger, the push of a button. What can you do to fight back? The first thing is to be sure that you offer the best possible customer service you can. The next is to be sure that your website, etc., has contact information that is readily available. The contact information should be easy to navigate. As an online customer, I can tell you there is nothing more frustrating than not being able to find contact information or have to jump through hoops to voice your complaint.
Customers/clients should be able to contact your company quickly by e-mail or telephone. In addition, you should make it your business to respond within 24 hours. An automatic response program may help provide a quick first step to making your customer happy. A friendly automatic response that thanks the customer and lets him know when he can expect a response may help to soothe those ruffled feathers. Follow-up to the auto-responder is imperative.
If you, as customer service, are responding by telephone or e-mail keep in mind that the customer is not happy and expects you to fix his problem. I offer a few suggestions:
1. Be sure you understand the problem. Repeat what the customer has said or written, he will say "Correct" or he will correct you. Listen to his correction without interruption. Be as specific as you can when you reply to him. It may help if your e-mail response uses the customers word's in bulleted fashion.
2. Be empathetic when responding to angry or frustrated customers. Know that saying, "Well, these things happen." will not endear you to your already unhappy customer.
3. After the matter has been handled, you may want to call and thank the customer for contacting you about his issue and allowing to correct it. If complaint was make by e-mail, a follow-up e-mail may be handled the same as a telephone call, thank the customer and perhaps make a time-limited good will offer.