Social Media can be your best Customer Service tool – if you use it correctly.

Consumers are so used to being connected and getting information quickly that picking up the phone has become ‘like so 2002’. Yes we are pretty lazy when it comes to wanting and expecting customer service but why shouldn’t we expect it? One of my pet peeves is businesses that have social media pages but do not use them. What is the point? Don’t have a link to your Twitter or Facebook page on your website if you do not want people to look at it or contact you on it. You are not only wasting everyone’s time, you are seriously pissing off your potential customers.

One study by Nielsen revealed that 67 per cent of people have used a business’ social media page in order to request service or deal with an issue. One in three social media users prefer obtaining customer service via social media than by contacting businesses using the telephone. It is NOT hard to provide great customer service on social media.

  1. Have the right mindset – if you think of social as a pain than don’t use it. If you take the right attitude about it then it can be an extremely valuable customer research and service tool that can allow you to really understand your audience.
  2. Train your staff – Active use and understanding of social media can be a challenge for some staff, especially those of an older generation who have not grown up with social media and may not use it in their out-of-work life.  Cross-train your staff on social media usage and etiquette. There is often an overlap between marketing and customer service and it can be helpful to come up with some guidelines for best practice and encourage marketing and customer service staff to work together. This is something that Jetstar and Telstra need to learn!
  3. Respond QUICKLY – people expect faster responses on social media. I see this often with big brands who don’t monitor their social channels over weekends or into the evening and can go days without responding. Massive fail! If you don’t have the resources to manage 3 social channels, don’t promote or use them.
  4. Listen and answer questions – do not give form responses. Nothing I hate more as a consumer than getting some form response which doesn’t answer my question. Hear that Twitter & Linked In!!  Be positive and always provide more information than what is requested – don’t be defensive and remember everyone can see your response so being negative to one person can mean hundreds of people see it and are forming an impressions of your brand based on how you react.
  5. Be genuine – Your prospective customers need to see that you are paying attention, have a genuine interest in solving problems and that you respond promptly. Also understand how to deal with abusive complaints by taking them ‘offline’ to avoid consumers being affected by others issues with you, or to avoid customers who complain having to disclose personal information in a public forum

Think social as a service and see the difference in how your customers react to your brand.



Using social for real time conversations & why Jetstar FAILS!

There are plenty of articles available on Google that share tips and tactics on what businesses should be doing with social media and in the importance of using it for real time conversations. Social is about two way conversation and not pushing sales and products onto your communities and fans. One of the things I love about Social media is its immediacy and ability to share information instantaneously and immediately. I get more news faster looking at Twitter than I do watching any TV channel or news program.

So the question I ask, particularly of large organisations is why do you find it so hard to use it effectively.  This blog was prompted by a recent and very negative experience with Australian budget airline carrier Jetstar.

It’s common sense that in times when there is a natural disaster like a cyclone people naturally want information that will affect their movements over the coming days. Can someone please explain this basic human nature to Jetstar.

I had to take an unexpected trip from Brisbane to Newcastle to visit my father who had recently been diagnosed with Leukemia. Issues to schedules and availability of flights meant I had no choice but to book Jetstar flights, despite being an avid traveller with Virgin.  The difference in service between the two carriers is massive. Virgin = positive. Jetstar = don’t even start me…!

Unfortunately my trip coincided with a cyclone hitting the QLD coastline which could affect my return flights. During the weekend myself and hundreds of other people Tweeted Jetstar and posted on their Facebook page and the lack of response was appalling. Here are my top 3 tips if you want to avoid a digital disaster as well as a natural one:

In real time social media tips:

  1. If you not going to monitor and respond on your social channels, don’t use them. It reflects badly on your brand and leads to negative customer experience and will spread like wildfire. I made close to 12 posts on Twitter and got one form response that didn’t address my complaint at all. Also multiple Facebook posts which got no response at all. And I wasn’t alone.
  2. Don’t post form responses. After not responding to clients for hours, Jetstar posted a form response which gave no update of information to their Facebook page. Causing yet more negative reaction from angry customers. You have an opportunity to share timely and relevant information, be empathetic and put yourself in your customers shoes so use this and win yourself raving fans.
  3. Understand the importance of social media during crucial times. If a natural disaster or huge event impacts your brand schedule staff to cover the increased enquiry. We live in a digital world which operates 24/7 not Mon-Fri 9-5. The small cost to add extra staff will well and truly pay for itself with increased engagement levels with customers and repeat business.

Social media 101. Jetstar needs to learn how to use social media in real time and give their current team some serious training. Better yet they should review what Virgin do and try taking a page from their book.  FYI, I did try to reach out to Jetstar execs for comment but got none which further adds to my already low opinion of them.

realtime social