In today’s competitive environment, especially for eCommerce companies, your business reputation is paramount. With the now widespread use of social media, customers are much more vocal and influential. It’s never been more important for organizations and eCommerce stores to develop a solid customer satisfaction strategy and incorporate into your overall business and eCommerce marketing plan.

Social Media Customer Service

The primary goal of any social media customer service program should be to turn fans and followers into customers and advocates. Your social media customer service program should strive to:

  • Give your business a human face
  • Listen to what customers are saying
  • Proactively engage with prospects and customers
  • Provide additional product-related content
  • Answer product-related questions
  • Share customer feedback
  • Make special offers

How Can You Accomplish All That?

Start by developing a formal social media customer service program that provides resources and training to your staff. Once fully trained, assign staff to manage social networking profiles to ensure that all channels are covered throughout the workday. Covering nights and weekends is also important, if at all possible.

It’s also vital to set some policies and processes for responding to customers and mitigating potential problems. Be prepared to react and know how to reach executives quickly if something especially damaging crops up.

Another important step in establishing your program is to set up automatic searches for “mentions” of your business and market. Watch those mentions and respond to them.

Once you have a solid program in place, just . . .

1. Listen -

Marketing guru Heidi Cohen says, “With the help of social media monitoring tools, customer service can hear what consumers are asking, provide timely responses, and determine early warning signs of PR and other issues.”

2. Recognize opportunities -

Learn more about what people want and expect from you. Use feedback as opportunities for improvement.

3. React -

81% of consumers using social media say it's important for businesses to respond to questions and complaints and within a reasonable amount of time, so be sure to respond to your customers’ comments, whether said comments are positive or negative.

  • If something negative is posted, deal with it as soon as possible, showing integrity and good communication. Work to resolve problems and let your customers know you’re sensitive to their needs.
  • When something positive is posted, say “thank you”. It lets potential customers know that you appreciate them and that their satisfaction is important to you.

Online retailer Zappos leads the way with their stellar SM customer service practices. They emphasize quality interactions, whether it is engaging with customers on their blog, Facebook or Twitter. They understand that every interaction impacts how people view their company. CEO Tony Hsieh explains, "Today anyone, whether it is an employee or a customer, if they have a good or bad experience with your company they can blog about it or Twitter about it and it can be seen by millions of people. It’s what they say now that is your brand.”

4. Deliver -

Deliver on what you promise. Whole Foods, for example, lets users know what time and days they can expect to hear back.

5. Review

Monitor progress and tweak your social media customer service strategy as needed. Regularly review progress and best practices in the industry.

Social media has changed how consumers and companies view customer service. Delivering consistently great customer experiences via social media can define your brand. Are you ready to embrace these new opportunities? Tell us about it by commenting below.

Originally published May 30, 2015, updated March 19, 2021
Tags: social media Best Business Practices Social Media Marketing marketing planning process