social media how toAre you responding to customers on social media?

Do you customize your interactions with them?

Your brand and online reputation depend on how you provide social media customer service.

In this article you will find four ways social media conversations create an extraordinary customer experience that inspires loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations.

#1: Create Unforgettable Experiences

One of the great benefits of providing customer support on social media is being able to connect with consumers in real time. You see a need and you fill it. You hear a problem and you solve it.

Handling customer issues on a public stage can benefit both you and the customer you’re working with—especially if you go above and beyond a genericPlease call us so we can resolve the issue.”

tweet with @citibikenyc mention

Keep an eye out for social mentions of your company.

Take the story of Paul Young and his unfortunate incident on the way to work. One rainy Friday morning in New York City, he jumped on his CitiBike and headed to work for a day of back-to-back meetings.

As he rounded a corner, the slippery street got the best of him, causing his bike—and him—to crash to the wet ground.

Paul tweeted about his misadventure and was surprised at what happened next: CitiBike hand-delivered a gift card for a new pair of jeans.

Of course, Paul was surprised and happy with CitiBike’s effort and he tweeted out his appreciation.

tweet with @citibikenyc thank you mention

Creative, personal solutions inspire positive social proof.

CitiBike could have tweeted back an “Oh no! We hope your day gets better.” Instead they made a sincere (and memorable) effort to actually make Paul’s day better. It’s a good bet Paul is a customer for life now and he likely tells others about his impressive experience.

Those kinds of customer service opportunities are ripe for reinforcing your appreciation of your customers—especially when you can address issues quickly.

#2: Pay Attention

We have all had that conversation where it’s obvious the other person’s attention is fading in and out. It’s frustrating, off-putting and rude, isn’t it?

The same holds true for social media. When you ask customers to join you online, you are inviting them into a conversation—and conversations are a two-way street.

To build lasting customer relationships, be attentive and supportive in every situation. Align your mission, vision and values with your online interactions to give meaning to your efforts.

tweet with @netflix mention

Positive customer service makes for happy customers, even if foot rubs aren’t included.

Netflix is known for its superior online customer service. That is due in large part to a corporate culture that empowers employees to act quickly. Netflix thoroughly trains its support staff on how to address customer compliments and complaints and encourages them to take action in real time.

You can look through the Netflix Twitter stream and see conversations where problem-solving is the norm. The company’s prompt, positive attention has built a legion of happy and satisfied customers. Many of those customers, like @alcesr, tweet about their positive experience.

#3: Follow Through

One of the key ingredients of lasting customer relationships is reliability. But reliability extends beyond online conversations. You have to follow through with consistent, active social profiles.

wegman's facebook post from 2013

Don’t desert your customers.

For instance, what do customers see when they search for your business on Facebook? A vibrant community dedicated to cultivating relationships? Audience appreciation? Or a deserted page like the one above?

What’s almost unbelievable is that Wegmans had amassed a following of over 50,000 fans when they stopped posting in early 2013. They essentially abandoned their community.

When visitors see a stagnant page (especially one with many fans), they leave with the negative perception that the company doesn’t really value their community.

#4: Go the Extra Mile

Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond to maintain an ongoing relationship with your customers. Regularly monitoring all of your social media accounts helps you find specific opportunities you can use to elevate your business over the competition.

An example of exemplary customer service is Nordstrom. Since its inception in 1901, Nordstrom’s mission has been “to provide customers the most compelling shopping experience possible.”

nordstrom twitter feed

Nordstrom reaches out to customers on Twitter.

All you need to do is peruse their Twitter feed or Facebook page to see how successfully they have translated their relentless commitment to quality customer service, both in-store and online.

While tales of Nordstrom customer service have become legendary, it’s not the splashy media moments that make Nordstrom the icon they are today.

Their customer experience is created in the everyday moments. It’s woven into every fiber of their company culture, where going the extra mile is a way of life.

Nordstrom has made it their duty to listen to and respond to customers, no matter the situation. Take the conversation between Danielle Reisch and a Nordstrom employee. You can see that Nordstrom not only responded promptly, but also returned to apologize and offer an alternative solution.

nordstrom facebook post and comments

Nordstrom takes customer service very seriously.

While the end result of this particular interaction may not have been perfect, their listening skills certainly were.

What Nordstrom knows is that every customer interaction is an opportunity to create a remarkable experience.

Final Thoughts

How are you making your company memorable? How do your customers feel when they walk away from your store or an online conversation? Whether someone is complaining or complimenting, they usually just want to be heard.

Once you identify the wants and needs of your customers, you are better equipped to deliver a superior brand experience.

When you take the time to listen and respond promptly you’re telling customers you appreciate them. That personal attention puts you in a position to maintain relationships and earn a customer for life.

What do you think? How do you use social media for positive customer service? Have you ever used social media to get a company’s attention? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Great article Rebekah. It’s an awesome post about social media customer service that every business should take care of, but I interacted with many businesses or business owners who afraid to handle customers online. They post on their social channels that all customer issues will be solve via email, it’s our privacy policy. It’s not a good strategy to do that. What are your thoughts on same?

  • Theresa

    Great article! Many of these companies use social customer service platforms so they can provide an even better customer experience. We were excited to see two of Sparkcentral’s customers highlighted in your blog!

  • I love CitiBike’s story – that’s what great customer service is all about! And I completely agree – going the extra mile and actually caring about your customers will help you in the long run.

    I don’t know if you’ve read the Pizza Hut story yet but that was one of my favourite ‘outstanding customer service’ stories so far.

  • Interesting

  • Rebekah Radice

    Hi NavNeet! Yes, there are many businesses and brands still pushing back on social media. It’s a shame to see how fearful they are, especially given the impact an effective social media customer care strategy can have on a company.

  • Rebekah Radice

    That’s exciting Theresa! And yes, there are many companies are doing an exceptional job managing customers expectations across multiple social platforms. It’s fun to track and analyze.

  • Rebekah Radice

    I hadn’t heard that story Ashley. What another great example of listening and responding to a customer need. I love it!

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  • Rebekah Radice

    Hi Suzy! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the article!

  • Kimberly A. Kline

    I love your examples of what stellar customer service really looks like Rebekah! They went beyond “lip service” and put their words into action. Something I continually strive for, and I will be sharing this for sure!

  • I agree completely! Engagement is necessary, including responding to people’s shout outs (whether it’s negative or positive). Thank you for researching and sharing your insight!

  • Vijay Mathur

    Great article Rebekah. We have also realized that with good customer service we can also learn from the customers as customers are willing to give feedback if you listen. This feedback can then be given to the sales, marketing, and product teams to improve the product or service. This is a great way to also tell the customers that we are not only listening to your feedback, we are also either fixing the issue or improving the product or service.