Welcome, lovely to see you today.
If a customer walked into your salon, you’d ignore them, right? Maybe turn your back? Hide under the desk? Or give them a thumbs up and carry on working?
Of course you wouldn’t (we hope!). We know you’d acknowledge, smile, chat and see how you could help. So, if your social media profiles were a person, how would they engage with your customers?
Would you like their post and move on?
What follows is a quick, simple, but SUPER helpful guide that will give you the skills you need to maintain a strong customer service relationship through social media.
1. Why should I serve customers through social media?
- More than one third of people prefer to contact a business for customer support through social media.
- Social media gives you the chance to resolve, address and connect with your customers instantly.
- Nobody enjoys being stonewalled – least of all customers looking for an answer. Social media provides an opportunity to answer those questions that pop into your customer’s minds. Can you change my hair colour without bleach? Do you do acrylic nails? If you don’t know the answer, be honest and get back to them.
- Social media gives your customers a responsive outlet – not a wall. This is key to ensuring that engagement stays high and you increase your reputation as a trusted business.
Modern life can be hectic in this digital age. Your customers expect immediacy.
2. Core customer service strategies
It’s about being proactive
This is all about giving the customer what they want – without them asking for it. Ok, so you’re not small and green and don’t do Jedi mind tricks, that’s cool, but chances are you’re aware of your customer’s FAQs.
Make sure you’re educating your customers through:
- Blogs and case studies
- ‘How to’ content
Why? You’re short of time. You don’t have the resources to answer every question a customer might have about your business. So give them the answer in a way that saves you and THEM time.
Remember, they’re busy too and will appreciate bite size chunks of information.
It’s about being pre-emptive
Make sure you’re thinking ahead. Is there anything coming up that might affect your customers when they want to use your business?
- National holidays
- Personal holidays
- Promotions and offers
- Summer – people go on holiday, are they likely to use your business before they go?
- Are you going to be closed?
- Make sure you’re mindful of tone.
- What’s the reason for you not being available? Perhaps a national day that means a lot to you? Explain why. Remember people resonate with shared interests and values!
- Always link it back to the customer.
- Customer centricity remains the key to success. What do they need from you?
It’s about being reactive
When customers reach out to you on social, they expect to receive the same (or better) customer service as if they had emailed or called you. Social media is a public forum, it comes with risk – remain diligent through every encounter.
- Never ignore a customer. If you need more information, then ask them for it.
- If you’re not reactive to enquiries, you’re harming your brand.
3. Dealing with complaints
How do we effectively deal with complaints?
- Identify the issue – what is the customer actually saying? What issues are they addressing?
- Sense the tone – Are they angry? Disappointed? Resigned? Understand the tone before you design your response? Answering an angry complaint with a joke is not appropriate.
- Make it human – Chat with them like a friend or new acquaintance. Be polite, positive, firm and chatty.
- Be considerate. Ask yourself, “would that would annoy me too?”
- Bring the empathy. Humanise the situation. If you show the customer you understand them will help you not only remedy the situation but will also help build and nurture a relationship.
- Find a way – There’s any number of ways to rectify a situation. Get creative. Coupons? Discounts? A consult with someone in the salon?
4. Dealing with praise
We engage with praise in the same way as complaints:
- Identify the issue – what is the customer actually saying? Are they praising a particular aspect of your service or
business? Respond with a friendly message and maybe an appropriate image or GIF.
- Sense the tone – Are they happy? Having a joke? Recommending you to someone else? Reply with grace and dignity and always remember to share the praise!
- Make it human – what would say face-to-face? Does applause make you happy? Of course it does. But your followers don’t know that, so tell them.
- Bring the empathy. Humanise the situation. Maybe the applause is an emotional response? E.g. You’ve given me the confidence to take on the world!”
- Find a way – How are you going to give back to you advocates? Surprise them! If you see someone recommend you to someone, why not reward them?
5. Pick your platform
Different social media channels often means different users, and this means different responses are required.
Typically conversational. So get involved with the conversation. Keep an eye on trends, any you can engage with or any your customers are engaging with that you can also?
Keep things centred around business. A great place to show your business knowledge and demonstrate thought leadership through blogs and case studies.
The biggest and most frequently used platform, is also the most personal platform. Make sure your responses are the same. The huge amount of media types available to share means you can be as creative as you want.
It’s all about the photography. Keep it visual, and keep the copy short and sweet, like a sharp bob. Also, be creative. Instagram now offer the ability to set up polls and daily stories. If you haven’t got the answer to a question why not run a poll? This shows the customer that you care about their opinion / query enough to share it with other like minded people.
6. Let’s sweep up
We told it was short and sweet!
Here’s a few extra tips to finalise our playbook and get your community revving.
- Read through your most recent responses to customers – are you on the right track?
- Share this playbook with your team – particularly if they’re keeping an eye on social media.
- Find a solution to integrate your inbound messages – Hootsuite, Buffer, and Sprout for example, pull your comments into one handy feed, making it easier for you to respond.
- Keep a log or note of complaints and remember them in your Timely App. You may want to offer a discount or extend a freebie.
- Ensure you check social at regular intervals during the day – once they’ve booked via Timely, they may want to share their experience on social media. This is gold – share and reply back to this wonderful advocate.
That’s a wrap! Check out more useful resources here.