Can I help you? Social media and customer service

Working in the digital realm has taught me that social media pages and accounts are the perfect platforms to have my voice heard.  Over the years I’ve definitely come to appreciate social media coordinators and those who deal with customer service via Twitter and Facebook.

In fact, I think it’s made me better understand how to draft up an effective Tweet before I hit send. But that doesn’t mean I hold my punches – there’s a difference between showing mercy and being a pushover!
I used to email companies and organizations that have wronged me, but then I would wait days before hearing back from them. And don’t even get me started on calling certain telephone and internet providers – I would be on hold for a minimum of two hours listening to the worst top 40 mix ever. But a quick 140 character Tweet? You can bet that (usually) gets a response within a few hours. Facebook posts? Even quicker. Most brands know that they should address all comments and concerns right away before other users start contributing to the thread – it can add up pretty quickly.

We work with brands and organizations that deal with consumers regularly and so we totally get it. Deleting comments? Horrible idea. Don’t do it. They’ll notice and they’ll come back with a vengeance. Ignoring the comment? Be ready for armageddon. Answering their post with the answer they want to hear? That’s the ideal situation but in some cases, a quick post telling them you’re looking into the matter or you’ve forwarded their concern to the right person is all they want.

That’s it.

Some brands just don’t get it though. I love Tweeting a certain phone/internet/cable provider with my issues (you know there’s always something) and they always respond back in a timely fashion and deal with whatever it is I’m having issues with. I’ve also gotten plenty of my questions answered by random brands, from stroller companies to restaurants, on Facebook. But there are always going to be a few brands that don’t know what they’re doing in the big bad world of social and auto reply with messages like, “Hi there, please check out our FAQs. Thanks!”

Brands? Community managers? Are you listening? Don’t do that. Please don’t. Cater to your audience – listen to our voice, we are your clients. The ones that buy your food or use your service, we ultimately pay you. It’s vital to the survival of your brand that you start to understand just how to respond to your audience. Word of mouth travels fast, but word on the Internet travels faster. Respond in a timely manner and try to deal with the issue at hand. If all else fails, ask them to DM you their information and promise to get in touch with them later (and actually get in touch with them). And if you don’t? Well, hell hath no fury like a shopper scorned.

Hafsa is a PR Account Executive at 88 Creative. Follow her on Twitter at @Hafs__.