The Facebook page of modern day businesses is now just as viable and accepted a communication platform as a phone number or email address. Your customers expect that you’ll see their communiqué and will respond to it in good time. In fact, most customers prefer Facebook, particularly if their message is a negative one, as it publicly airs their grievances for all the world to see. They feel that you’ll be more forced to address the issue than you might in a phone call or via email.
So with great swathes of your customers now choosing Facebook as their preferred customer service channel, it’s up to your business to adapt to this change as quickly and proficiently as possible. And to help you do so, let’s look at the five keys to providing great customer service on Facebook.
1. Use a purpose-built tool
To do any job properly you need to equip yourself with the right set of tools. You can’t fix your broken mug with a hammer, as I’m sure a saying goes.* While using Facebook’s standard features to reply to seems logical, they aren’t optimised for use as customer service tools. Messages, posts, and comments are liable to get lost in the noise, particularly if your page sees a decent amount of action.
*I just Googled it and it’s definitely not a saying, but I feel like it should be. I now proclaim this canon.
2. No question goes unanswered
Rule one of the Facebook customer service guidebook is that all queries should be addressed. This shows that you pay attention to your customers – that you care about them, and aren’t aloof. It only takes one ignored complaint gone viral for you to have a real PR disaster on your hands.
The content of the reply should go over and above simply answering the question. You should attempt to foresee subsequent questions, and cut them off at the pass by offering the customer any information that is relevant to their query or complaint. This strategy will save you a lot of time in the long run.
3. Setting response time KPIs
As a customer, what would you deem a reasonable response time to a query or complaint? While instantaneousness is ideal, it’s also impracticable. A reasonable response time for any business is 24 hours – anything over that and it starts to look as though you’re (ironically) phoning your Facebook customer service efforts in.
Set a maximum response time, and work within it religiously.
4. Seeing complaints as opportunities
The attitude that you bring to the table will have a massive effect on how productive your Facebook customer service efforts are. This may sound like vintage middle management talk, but complaints truly are opportunities. The opportunity to solve an issue experienced by a loyal customer. The opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service. The opportunity to turn a complainant into a brand advocate, and bad PR into good PR.
Adopting a positive attitude – rather than the far more natural defensive attitude – will allow you to mend any relations and bring complaints to a close for more efficiently. You’re also putting out good vibes to your greater Facebook audience who may see the post.
5. Using a consistent voice and a suitable tone
As a customer, I have no doubt that you despise any customer service that appears automated. Whether it’s dialing numbers on your keypad to solve a dispute over the phone, or chatting to one of those website bots that don’t really get the nuances of the English language, automated customer service features tell people that a company cares more about efficiency than it does their customers. We just want to talk to a human for goodness’ sake.
Using a consistent human voice in your Facebook communications is vital. It helps to develop a brand persona, giving your messages a uniform feel and your followers a personality that they can relate to. The tone is also crucial – be somber with complaints, excited with praise and cheery with general queries.
Facebook will only grow as a customer service tool into the future, so by getting your fundamentals right now, you’re setting your company up for success for years to come.
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