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Now that we've covered how to get started with a proper social media customer care program, it's time to dive deeper into using social media customer care to retain customers. Social customer care is an excellent opportunity for you to retain a customer who has had a bad support experience and is ready to try out your competitors.

Customers often come to social media channels after having a bad experience with other support channels, whether they're still hoping to find help or only looking to complain about your products and support service, this could be your last opportunity to retain a customer who has had a bad experience!

These 3 steps will show you how to turn these bad experiences into a great one, for your customers and for your company!


Step 1: Respond in a Reasonable Timeframe


If you want to retain customers who have already had a bad experience, a great start is to not keep them waiting. A quick reply to their post will go a long way towards reinstilling some trust in your brand, especially if they were left on hold forever by phone support or couldn't reach your online chat agents.

Many brands don't respond at all, and some respond within 30 minutes or less, but for most brands starting out, an hour or two is a reasonable starting point, with the goal of paring that time down considerably in the future as your social care team grows.


Step 2: Take Ownership and Fix the Problem


One thing customers hate is being passed from one support channel to the next with no solution. Remember, every additional support channel a customer has to reach out to makes them less likely to try another. If you're going to retain customers with social customer care, you're going to need to take ownership of their problems and find a solution for them, without handing them off to another channel.

When you reply to a customer who has had a bad experience, you should:

  • Acknowledge the bad experience and apologize for it. You may not be the person who dropped the ball, but letting the customer know that you recognize the experience they've had isn't acceptable and that you're here to set things straight is a great first step in regaining their trust.
  • If possible, offer a quick solution to the problem or escalate it to someone who has the power to fix it or find a solution quickly. 
  • Avoid sending the customer to another channel "You can reach our phone support at X," even if you're not yet at the point where your social care team handles most support issues themselves yet. These are special cases, and if someone has already had a bad support experience once, sending them back to those same channels or pushing them off on someone else will cause them to lose even more faith in your company's ability to solve the problem. 

Your social care team should be empowered to make real decisions and correct most mistakes with billing, product, service, etc. and the ability to offer something, whether it's discounts, free products, swag, etc. in cases where an experience was especially bad and amends need to be made.


Step 3: Escalate Responsibly


Escalations are a fact of life. Your frontline support team won't be able to solve every problem they encounter, and sometimes they'll need to pull in someone with more specialized knowledge or just more authority within your company to help.

When they are needed:

  • Escalations should ideally have senior support staff or other escalation resources responding to the customer directly on the social channel they reached out to. Preferably this should happen through a branded support account. This is less hassle for the customer and in most cases is what the customer would prefer to being given another phone number or email address to have to follow up on.  
  • However, sometimes the best solution is to take escalations off page. This could be a customer that is a business owner who is losing money every minute the problem isn't solved or just a very irate customer who refuses to wait any longer and is spamming your social properties every 5 minutes that they haven't gotten a solution.

Taking support escalations off page is ideal when a situation truly is an emergency for the customer, or when a customer is especially angry and the situation needs to be diffused.

When you're faced with a situation like this, you should make it very clear that you're giving them a direct line to contact someone like a senior technician or the head of sales, who will have the experience/knowledge/power to offer a quick solution to their problem. You don't want the customer to feel like you're just passing them off to another frontline customer service rep who may or may not be accountable to providing a solution.


Has your brand mastered social customer care? What guidelines do you have in place to make sure your customers get taken care of?

Post by Zachary Chastain
April 23, 2015