Use social media platforms to communicate with your customers in real time.
Customer service is the staple of success for any business, regardless of the industry. For essential services like HVACR, plumbing, electric, etc., we can all agree that our everyday goal is to provide top notch service to our clients who trust us to fix problems in their homes, schools and workplaces.
Thanks to advancements in social technology, businesses can provide customer service out of the office and provide it from anywhere, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram allow us to share our daily experiences through a little device we carry with us at all times — our cell phones. If you have news or information to share with your customers, it’s as easy as typing a few words and pressing post.
Though Facebook and other social media platforms were originally created for personal use to share ideas and thoughts of individuals, the social media realm has created a space for businesses to communicate with their audiences and provide customer service to clients from anywhere in real time.
Here are a couple of tips you’ll want to know for providing customer service online, as well as trends you’ll want to look out for.
If you are not using social media reviews for your business yet, start now. There are a handful of sites online you can use for clients to leave reviews on, but we recommend starting with some of the most popular and easily accessible sites first.
Google. What doesn’t Google do these days? Well, most certainly, Google is the most easily accessible place to find reviews on any business. All you have to do is perform a simple Google search and all your reviews will be there on the front page under your business name.
Setting up your business with Google is easy with the Google My Business tool (this will make it so your business pops up if anyone tries to Google search it).
Once your business is set up, clients with a gmail account can go in and leave reviews for others to see every time they Google Search your business.
Facebook. If your business has a Facebook page, you already have the ability to garner reviews. Just be sure that your Facebook page is a business account and not just a regular Facebook account for a person.
You can double check this by visiting the Facebook Business manager site business.facebook.com. If you can login and manage your page from Facebook Business manager, you have an operational business account. Again, Facebook is one of the most accessible places you’ll be able to find reviews for a business.
Anyone with a Facebook account can login in, visit your business page and leave a review. Facebook is a great platform for the customer service piece because it grants businesses the ability to private message an individual to handle a public review.
For example, you may have a bad review or a customer request you need to address offline without the public eye watching the back and forth dialog. In this case,you want to take the discussion off of your public review page. Facebook highlights three to four reviews that show up at the top of your business page that they call “most helpful reviews.”
Though it is worth mentioning the algorithm (or formula) Facebook uses to determine which reviews are “most helpful” is not disclosed.
Yelp. Yelp is known for being the one-stop-shop for reviews. It is all they do. Anyone can view your public Yelp reviews and those with a Yelp account can log in and leave a review for any business; this ranges from food and theme parks, to service industry businesses.
You name it, Yelp can review it. Did you know there is such a thing as a “Professional Yelper?” Yes, believe it or not, there are people who make a living doing Yelp reviews because the public trusts their opinion.
Like Facebook, Yelp allows a business to respond to reviews privately if they wish to do so, as well as provides a space for clients to submit their own photos and videos of any product or service they receive. Yelp is a powerful platform and one that can be very beneficial to your business.
With so many places your business can be reviewed, there are some key rules you will always want to follow when providing customer service online.
It is always good practice to encourage your clients to leave reviews once they have received services. The most trusted reviews are those that are the most recent. So, if your company delivered excellent service to a client during a project, be sure to encourage your clients to share their experience online by leaving a review of your business.
The sooner you respond to a review, especially a negative one, the better. Unfortunately, reviews that are under four stars happen from time to time. You’re not going to be able to please everyone and that’s okay.
Nothing is worse, however, than a client leaving criticism or recommendations in a review and feeling like they’re yelling into the void because the company never responds to their feedback. A good company always takes negative feedback and improves from it. Additionally, if potential customers see a review that required feedback but has no response, it will likely encourage them to look elsewhere for services.
Take time to address online feedback publicly, but always try to give the option to discuss any issues further in private messages, if possible. This allows the client a space to provide additional details and/or feedback off of the public page. Doing this reduces clutter on your business’ public review page and creates a one-on-one customer service environment.
Many social media platforms allow for direct messaging which lets clients reach out to the business directly to get more information about services, locations, hours and other vital pieces of information.
More recently, platforms like Facebook can be set-up to automatically prompt site visitors to send messages to the business page. Auto responses can also be put into place to help clients with frequently asked questions. In simple terms, you can set up a robot to answer questions for you.
Platforms such as Facebook also publicly display your businesses message response rate. This rate reflects how many messages your page receives versus the number of messages that are responded to by your page.
Keeping this number high is important, as it reflects how well your business uses the platform to respond to client inquiries and feedback.
Always be sure to follow up with a human element after the initial message is received. Though having a program that responds to messages immediately is helpful in getting your message response rate up as well as providing immediate recognition of the customers’ message, remember that clients are looking to speak with humans to hear their feedback — good or bad.
This cool feature is exclusive to platforms such as Facebook and Yelp. Did you know that customers can book appointments and services through these platforms?
For example, if a business chooses to make the option available, a potential client can visit Yelp, read reviews and if they so choose, book their appointment straight from the page via the “Book Now” button.
Facebook has a similar capability, along with the option to create posts with specific calls to action such as “Call Us Now” or “Schedule an Appointment”. Be sure to go into your page setting to make sure these features are enabled. These features make the booking process much simpler for clients which means they’ll be more inclined to use it.
The world of digital social media ads can be a daunting one to those who have never dabbled in the realm before — but with a little helpful direction, you can successfully create your own social media ads that will drive traffic to your business.
A way to use these Facebook ads to aid in customer service is to run advertisements that highlight any customer service features that differentiate you from the competition.
For example, if your business offers an emergency hotline or 24/7 hotline, feature it. Not only does it spotlight a high standard for your company’s level of customer service, but it also helps communicate the unique service feature your company offers.
Staying on top of digital trends can be a big task, but digital ads aid in the successful operation of a business. As you become more and more digital, knowing how this stuff works will only become more imperative.
Social media is one of the first opportunities we have to interact with customers and it’s an essential addition to the customer service toolkit we’re using. From all of us at Quarter Moon, we wish you good luck and happy servicing online.