5 Key Tips to Great Customer Service on Facebook

Have you ever had one of those friends that if you don’t respond to them in a timely fashion they will start to tell the world (all your friends) that you are ignoring them or that you are anti-social and not worth inviting to any social event, wedding or party ever again. 5 Tips to Great Customer Service on Facebook

The reality is that you may have just been away holidaying on a remote island off Peru, kayaking in the Himalayas, climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, having a family crisis in London and New York at the same time or “yes” you really don’t want to talk to them.

Facebook is Not Just About Marketing

Facebook is often seen as “the” place to market to your customers but not as a customer service channel.

The fact is that Facebook is real time and open for all the public to view with comments and  posts that are asking and in some cases begging for responses that require constant care and attention.

Private complaints via email or phone will only be known to a handful of people whereas Facebook’s messages are in the public domain making it imperative they are not ignored.

Good public relations and customer service means being proactive and not being afraid of the new social web. It means engaging with both the good and the bad news and not running away and ignoring the messages and conversations.

Conversations Will happen ‘With’ or ‘Without’ You

In a recent conversation with a customer  I learnt an organisation’s PR was being dictated  and controlled by an outsider who happens to understand and ‘gets’ that the web is open and that Google is indexing the on-line conversations and published content. The consequence is that whenever you Google the industry’s key phrases, it is not the organisation’s conversations or content that ranks on the first page but the vagabond “pirate” outsider’s comments and online properties that appear in the search results.

The reality…. an outsider controls the on-line presence of the brand!

So ignoring conversations on Facebook has the same consequence. “So have the conversation rather than have your PR and customer service controlled by Google’s indexing search engines

What Major Brand’s Don’t Respond Well on Facebook?

A recent survey by Conversocial analysed 10 top retail brands on Facebook to measure average response times and attitudes to engagement with customers. The surprising result was that the Amazon’s Facebook page revealed that in an entire week of investigation and on-line conversation Amazon did not reply to a single query, despite constantly putting out marketing messages.

5 Tips to Provide Great Customer Service on Facebook

This earned  Amazon the unflattering average response rating of ‘zero’ with French Connection and River island not far behind. The two top brands by service ranking who on average responded in less than one hour were Next and Asos.com

So how do you provide great customer service on Facebook?

5 Tips to Great Customer Service on Facebook

1. Always Reply

Don’t pick and choose who you will respond to… ignored complaints get noticed and you only need one customer to go viral and you have a PR disaster on your hands. If you cannot manage two way conversations on Facebook then it is maybe best to not play in the social networking pen.

2. Enable Your Wall

It is much better to channel customer service to your wall rather than spread them to to all of your fans via updates visible in the newsfeed

3. Monitor your Fan Page Throughout the Day

We are all use to monitoring our email and answering phone calls, so treat your Facebook page the same way and constantly check in and respond quickly as if it was a phone call to return or an email to respond to. If you do this well you will boost your brand and gain a competitive edge

4. Add Personality to Your Responses

You are a human interacting (not a robot) so use your name and add some real human touches that may show your company’s light side..a touch of humour can put a smile on the dial.

5. Use a Page Management Tool

Use efficiency features such as auto-flagging so you know when a comments or post are published on your page. Then ensure you have procedures and customer  service workflow processes in place so responses are not missed. Some tools for assisting you in managing Facebook ‘Pages’ are apps like Vitrue.com , TheKBuzz.com and Involver.com

What tools do you use to manage your Facebook page?

Do you respond to all your customer’s on Facebook or could you lift your game?

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Image by Zazzle.com

Comments

  • Anonymous

    Some good tips here, Jeff, though I don’t fully agree with No. 1. Depending on the brand, responding to every single comment, post, or question on your brand’s Facebook Page can actually be overkill, and can do more harm than good and stifle conversations. Sometimes, it’s best to hold back and let other fans (like brand defenders) jump in and respond. Instead, I’d argue for a regular, visible presence with *strategic* responses.  

    But I know we do agree on this: companies and brands who are using their Facebook Page as a pure marketing/promotional tool and ignoring the response and engagement component demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of how Facebook actually works!  One of our major brand clients has an outstanding commitment to customer service and brand response on its Facebook Page; it wants all comments reviewed and (when warranted) responded to within 30 minutes. That’s a time- and labor-intensive commitment, but one that the client insists is needed to ensure a successful Facebook presence. I hope to see more and more brands following suit. Bryan Person | @BryanPerson – LiveWorld

  • http://twitter.com/cjacks0n Chris Jackson

    Should you monitor facebook, twitter etc 24×7 if you are a large brand?

  • http://twitter.com/mojohelpdesk Mojo Helpdesk

    I have to agree about the importance of replying to your customers on Facebook. My rule of thumb is if it’s something I don’t really want to answer, I might wait a few hours and see if any customers respond. If not, I then give them an answer. To not respond can really anger customers or at least make them feel underappreciated, something none of us want to do. However, if they ask something that you don’t want to answer, like “Are you going to have feature X on the next release?” I give them an honest answer like, “I’m sorry but due to the competitive nature of our industry, we don’t talk about products in development until they are ready for launch. We will, however, post about it here as soon as there is something to announce.”
    This lets them know that while you recognize they asked a question and take it seriously, you can’t discuss such things due to company policy. No one has ever complained after that. And, if anything, I gave them a reason to keep coming back.
    Ignoring customers on Facebook is a baaad thing. Can really blow up in your face if you aren’t careful.

  • Erin James

    This was very interesting to read – a huge company like Amazon not paying attention to their Facebook page. If anything, I would have thought that the bigger companies would have a dedicated person to interact with their customers on all social media platforms. I work for a small business and I check our platforms often. It seems even global companies underestimate the immense power and influence of social media. 

  • Patricia Cosme

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  • http://twitter.com/FitJunction Fit Junction

    I was surprised by the amazon stat…wow…anyways..good post. i  plan to write about a restaurant/lounge who offered me extremely crappy service and then refused to acknowledge the problem on any of their social media channels..will link your blog in that post as well