The world has come a far way! A lot of it is thanks to the excessive growth of the term internet and technology. The internet might be able to survive without businesses using the platform to buy, sell, and market their products and services, but we can vouch for the fact that there aren’t many businesses today that could survive if the internet were to shut down today!
A study suggests that more than 95% Americans shop at least once a year online. With such staggering numbers luring companies to set up shop online, there isn’t much to understand about why it is necessary for you to set up a business that works online. But the bigger question, however, is, How to manage a business online? We’d say that there are multiple facets attached to it. Most importantly today is the power of Social Media.
However, before we delve into the details of how you can keep your customer happy through Social Media, or how you can handle unhappy customers through Social Media, we’d jump into a much larger question: What exactly comprises Social Media?
Social media generally refers to the idea of interacting with a lot of people through a variety of media (plural for: medium), including, but not limited to: the Internet, Applications, and the likes.
There are a billion ways you can use today to help better your services for your customers, using Social Media the right way! One of the major benefits of Social Media, however, is that you can deal with unhappy customers. So, let’s dig deeper into what ways you can use to help handle your unhappy customers online:
1. Build a cross-functional social team
There have been a lot of talks about how teams today have diverse and multiple roles at hand, adding to better productivity, and more efficiency from the same amount of people. If you run social media handle for your business, training your team to provide multiple functionalities and support is probably the best way you can utilize the social media of today!
Let’s take an example to better understand this: Alex, a very agitated customer of an e-commerce website is reaching out on one of the social media platforms about the technical faults in their website. Now, if the “Social Team” of your company is proactive and is trained to handle technical difficulties faced by the customers, the speed for problem-solving would improve dramatically.
There are many other ways you can use an efficient, cross-functional team! Consider a payment related inquiry that your team receives online. If every member of your social media team is fully equipped in handling any and every query/problem that comes toward it, you’d have a single team multitasking and managing the same without the need to consult others.
Such an instance is valid for all kinds of domains. Be it human resources, accounting, payments, or any other technical issues that your customers might face!
Our point being: If you’re able to train your social media team to work on real-world situations too, whilst handling problems being faced by the customers and also providing with the right solutions to the problems then and there, it depicts something known as proactiveness.
It might sound a little wrong to you, but training your social media management team the power and knowledge to become cross-functional would help in creating a much better customer experience. Imagine an unhappy customer reaching out to you on social media.
If you’re already ready to take the steps to better understand the customers’ problems and provide with solutions, it marks for a much happier customer.
2. Keep your eyes on discussions
Social Media platforms are a great way to start discussions. There are billions of forums online today to help users share their thoughts. Keeping track of your customers’ ideas, discussions, and feedback on such forums is a good way to help understand what your customers are seeking.
If you want to improve your business’s brand awareness and reputation while driving more traffic to your website, you can do so by developing an authoritative voice in pertinent forums.
Online forums are places where visitors (usual members) have discussions (a popular Q&A online forum is Quora) and post messages, questions, and answers. There are approximately 300 million forums, offering you considerable reach to customers and leads.
More so, linking your website in your responses at various forums also can generate some backlinks to your business.
3. Listen to their problems
The best customer experience is the one where the company listens to and understands the problems. If your customers aren’t able to share their experiences and problems with you in an open environment, how would you work towards bettering your services?
There are many ways you can listen to customers’ problems nowadays! To begin with, there is a new technology called “deep-listening”. When we listen, we almost never just listen. We compare the information we know. We tend to wear our thinking hats too early and judge the information based on past experiences and we rarely think about the point of view of a person we talk to.
For example, a customer contacts a customer service rep and tells them that they have a problem with their product. Let’s say that they just bought a hairdryer and they discovered it makes some really weird noises.
Now, a rep who didn’t listen carefully might say to themselves: “What is she talking about? A hairdryer is supposed to make noises!”. They might miss the fact that this darn hairdryer was broken. It is quite easy to come across queries and problems that you might just feel are a little silly or stupid, due to which you presume on such things and maybe ignore them as a company. But such instances are quite important to listen to your customers.
4. Acknowledge your customers, Always!
This comes as a no-brainer! Listening to your customers’ problems is one thing, but unless you acknowledge them, understand them, and point-blank tell it to them that you’re listening, they wouldn’t know whether you’re doing anything to better the situation.
There’s nothing more satisfying to an angry, unhappy customer than the thought of getting a positive acknowledgment from the other end.
5. Always try responding, not reacting!
“People of the generation of today listen to react, not to respond!”
This is a serious issue in the way the society works today. To understand this better, consider a friend of yours reaching out to you for an advice on something that he/she might have made a mistake with. Now, instead of you understanding the situation and finding out solutions to it, you start judging the very same person and start reacting in a very hasty manner; this definitely wouldn’t be the best way to tackle a situation.
Treat your customers the way you would want to be treated yourself!
The best way to deal with the consumer of today is:
- Listen to the customer
- Understand what the problem is
- Don’t react instantaneously; Give it some time to process
- Then respond with the right procedure to follow to remedy the situation
6. Give it a Human Touch
One of the major issues with customer experience today is the extreme advent of technology. We’re not saying that technology is bad (of course it never is!) But with chatbots and automated answering machines replacing human customer-service executives today, it is becoming less personal. As stated above, Always try to get into the shoes of the customer while solving their needs!
Use the technology that’s present with you to complement your work, not sabotage it!
7. Offer them solutions
This is as simple as it can get! Your job as an organization is to make your customers happy. That is, without a doubt the only sure-shot way to let your business succeed. The question is: How can I keep my customers happy?
Offer them solutions to the problems they’ve been facing; something wrong with a customer’s bill, try compensating them; a customer unhappy due to an unsatisfactory experience, try understanding how their experience has been, and try giving them the right solutions for the same!
8. If it is your fault, give them something complimentary
TIME magazine suggests that one of the major ways to win over yours customers’ trust is to give them something complimentary/free. It is the best way to get your consumers to start having faith in your institution!
Now there might be times when your firm might not be at fault, but due to some unforeseen reasons you’ve had to deal with some unhappy customers. In such situations, we’d recommend the tract of cutting the arm to save the patient!” This might seem as a very cliche thing to say, but giving up some extra cost for your customers is okay if you’re able to retain the customer, and more so, retain the faith and bond of your customer.
9. Never troll your customers
If you’re being made to read this particular pointer in depth, then you really need to work on your customer-outlook! This is something that goes without saying: Customer is God!
Never, ever, ever, ever (I don’t know how many “ever’s” I can add here to make my point stronger) troll your customer. Trust me, you would sometimes want to rip the face off of people, prank them, tease them, or troll them; in such situations focus on the amount of business each customer brings to the table and then try understanding if someone pulls something similar off on you!
10. Use Social Media, as much as you can
The amount of business social networking websites generate today was something unfathomed a few decades ago. Facebook alone has more than 2.2 Billion users from across the globe. There hasn’t been a better way in the entire history of marketing and business that allows a single platform to be used to reach out to masses at such a ginormous scale.
With just a click of a button, you can target billions of people. Imagine the possibilities you can do with Social Media Marketing. There aren’t enough reasons we can jot down here to tell you how important and beneficial using Social Media for your business can be!
With this, we’d say that work towards forming better consumer relationships for your businesses. And if there’s some mistake caused due to some errors, always make sure to know what to do to keep your customers happy!
Sawaram Suthar is head of marketing at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.