Using Facebook for marketing is becoming pretty commonplace nowadays. Business owners are seeing results, and are on board with using it to promote products, get referral traffic to their website, and connect with potential customers.
What many business owners are failing to catch onto, however, is how using Facebook for customer service can give you a clear competitive advantage, and endear you to your customers and clients.
If you have a Facebook page, chances are your customers or clients are already leaving comments, questions and complaints on your wall. How (and whether) you respond to these queries can say a lot about your business.
And trust me, people are watching to see how you respond.
As we know, 80% of US social media users prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. And yet if you take a look at pretty much any big brand on Facebook, you’ll see reams of unanswered complaints, questions, and even compliments.
Following are some ways to make sure you don’t end up like many of these big brands (at least in terms of Facebook customer service).
5 Ways to Use Facebook for Customer Service
1. Set up a customer service support page or group.
As a page’s number of ‘likes’ grow, the sheer volume of comments and questions may become simply unmanageable. Ideally, you’d want to make sure there’s at least one dedicated team member available to reply to each and every comment.
However as even this becomes unfeasible (think of Coke, who receives a new comment, at times, every couple of minutes), consider setting up a separate Facebook page specifically for customer support.
This page could still be manned by an employee or two, however you can also begin relying on community members to jump in and offer support. You may even want to reach out to uber-fans and ask for their help. Many will be glad to help, with or without an external incentive.
2. Use a customer service app.
Another way to move some of your customer comments off your wall is to use a customer service app like Get Satisfaction.
Get Satisfaction allows your customers to give multiple types of feedback: ask a question, share an idea, report a problem, or give praise. You can embed the support app on Facebook, as well as on your website itself if you like.
Get Satisfaction even claims that their content “automatically ranks on the first page of search results in Google, Bing and other search engines”.
Having all your support in a central location allows for customers to more easily participate in discussions, and allows you to more easily track feedback and concerns to ensure they’re being properly dealt with.
3. Outsource your Facebook customer service.
As your community grows, you may find that outsourcing comment moderation is the best choice for your business. Companies like Liveworld offer services whereby their comment moderators will vet up to 1000 posts per hour.
They can also respond to customer questions and concerns to encourage engagement on your page, in a way that’s consistent with your brand’s personality.
Alternatively, you can consider hiring a Facebook page management service like eModeration who will respond to general comments, but will forward questions or complaints to the appropriate person or department within your company for more technical issues.
4. Record the most frequent questions for future reference.
Chances are good that you’re seeing the same questions, topics, and themes emerge again and again on your page.
Keep a log of frequently asked questions and complaints for your Facebook page admin to reference when responding to queries. Encourage him or her not to simply cut and paste answers (there’s nothing worse than receiving a canned reply), but rather to use the logged answers as a reference point for their own replies.
This ensures consistency in terms of both tone and content, and can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to respond to queries.
5. Use alerts to notify you of brand mentions and keywords.
For instance, when anyone (on any page) mentions your brand, product or any keyword specific to your business, you can choose to be notified. This allows you to stay on top of your brand’s reputation, and monitor what people are saying about you across Facebook and the web.
You can also set alerts for certain keywords on your own page; words like ‘disappointed’, ‘frustrated’ or ‘customer service’. This will help ensure you never miss an opportunity to respond to an unsatisfied customer.
Case Study: Getting it Right
It’s not as easy as you might imagine trying to find an example of a company that’s exemplifies great customer service on Facebook.
After looking around at some of the biggest brands on Facebook, it quickly becomes apparent that the sheer volume of comments, complaints and questions becomes unmanageable at a certain point.
This however, can be of huge advantage to smaller businesses with fewer Facebook ‘likes’. Why not use your size to your advantage and be as responsive as possible?
Eurail is an excellent example of how to use Facebook to effectively address customer concerns and questions.
In scrolling through their wall, I found that each and every question and comment was addressed in a friendly and efficient manner, usually within the hour.
Take this comment for example:
Not only was the question answered in a timely manner, the agent was even able to deduce who the guy was travelling with (she had posted on their wall as well).
Even though they have multiple agents responding to queries, the tone of the responses is consistent (friendly and casual) across the board. The format and content are also consistent, including the liberal use of emoticons and the opening line appearing to be for the purpose of putting customers at ease.
Well done, Eurail!
Case Study: What Not to Do
If you haven’t already heard about the recent debacle involving Scottsdale, Arizona based restaurant, Amy’s Baking Company, I’ll share it as an cautionary tale for how not to use social media for customer service.
After a less-than-stellar appearance on the TV show Kitchen Nightmares, the restaurant’s Facebook page was overrun with negative comments from fans.
There were a number of ways the owners could have handled the situation and at least mitigated the repercussions of their unfortunate TV debut, but I’m thinking this wasn’t one of them:
Screenshots courtesy of Mashable
What are some great (or not-so-great) examples of businesses using Facebook for customer service? Are you using Facebook as part of your customer service strategy? Share in the comments below!
Header image courtesy of 89studio