3 Best Practices for Social Customer Service

By Brian Murray I had an amazing experience recently with JetBlue via Twitter. I was in Florida visiting my family and was supposed to come back on October 30th, but due to Hurricane Sandy that became impossible. After checking their website and trying to get on the phone with them, I realized that my best option might be Twitter. I tweeted asking if there was any way they could help me and they handled the entire transaction plus flight change via Twitter. They ever tweeted Dave Kerpen to let him know I would be a few days late!

Social Media has forced many companies to evolve and change they handle customer service complaints. If you or your organization are actively engaging in Social Customer Service or planning on doing so here are three best practices for creating a streamlined, helpful, service plan!

1) Set Proper Expectations - Match the service of your other platforms to your social platforms. If you answer the phone 9am - 5pm then you should probably do the same. If you answer the phone and e-mail 24/7 then you should have someone active on the channels you use as well. If this is not feasible or necessary than find a way to share this information with your customers whether it be in your Twitter Profile or on a Facebook Page. Zappos is a great example of a company that sets expectations and delivers.

2) Use The Platforms Where Your Customer Exists - If they tweet to you, don't tell them to send you a letter. If they write on your Facebook wall, don't tell them to use a carrier pigeon. Use the platforms as intended. If it is a situation where you need to discuss something private, drive them to a channel for immediate feedback. Use Direct Messages or Facebook Messages to do so. Don't tell them to call you and make them wait on hold for 35 minutes. Jet Blue is a great example of a company that uses the channels correctly and follows through there.

3) I'm Sorry and Thank You - Dave Kerpen often says that these are the four most important words in Social Media. Use them often and mean it. Be authentic and use your social channels to personify the brand. Don't repeat the same answer for every unhappy person. Create a unique and different answer for everyone. When you get praise or someone comes back to you and tells you that you are great, be sure to thank them!

Bonus - Surprise and Delight - I had a difficult situation where I wanted to get home, was worried about people as well as work but there was little I could do about it. When JetBlue realized that they threw a little humor into the situation which you can see here: http://bit.ly/LikeableJetBlueTweet

Have you ever had an amazing customer service experience with Social Media?